Can Cutting Edge Tech Help Bricks & Mortar Retailers Battle Online Stores?


More of us go online for our shopping needs, and there’s a real threat to the survival of conventional stores. Fewer people are buying the things they need in person. Instead, they opt for shopping online and getting the best deals at the same time. Many industry analysts will claim that retail as we know it is dead. The trend for e-commerce is skyrocketing, and retail’s demise will continue further. Here’s the thing: bricks and mortar stores still have a real chance of bucking that trend Fight fire with fire, is a saying you may have heard in the past. In this case, retail stores can use cutting-edge technology to battle e-commerce e-tailers. Here are some examples of how they do that:

Augmented reality

Let’s say that you visit a clothing store, and see an item that grabs your attention. You think it might look good on you, but you’re not so sure. One of the bugbears of clothes shopping is needing to try on so many outfits! The process is further exacerbated when a queue of people is waiting for the changing rooms. You could just buy the item and assume it fits you and looks good. But, if you get home and try it on, you might decide it’s not for you and have to make a trip back to return it. Instead, retailers are offering AR or “Augmented Reality” apps that customers can use. These smartphone apps let you “try on” an outfit in a virtual sense. While in-store, you could scan a QR code to match the clothes you’re looking at with a photo of yourself. You can use AR with iOS and Android phones.

Store loyalty cards

One way to hook people into buying from a particular store is by offering a loyalty card to customers. These days, it makes sense for retailers to offer credit cards that people can also use elsewhere. The application process is as simple as passing a few checks with a credit card theft scanner system. An advantage of loyalty cards is retailers can offer consumers discounts or “points”. They encourage more frequent shopping, and, of course, more revenue!

NFC technology

Cash and card payments are so 20th-century! Today, more people are using contactless technology as a way to pay for things. Retailers are offering new ways for the tech-savvy to buy their goods faster. NFC payments mean that consumers can wave their smartphone at a reader to pay for their items. There’s no manual intervention needed or waiting for card payment processing.

Scan As You Shop

Let’s say that you’re buying groceries from a supermarket. When you’re done, you have to queue up at the checkout. Next, you must unload your cart, wait for the items to get scanned and put them back into the cart. At some point, you will also need to put your groceries into paper or plastic bags. Some supermarket retailers are offering a “scan as you shop” system. In a nutshell, you scan each item using a handheld device. You can then pack the item into your bags in the cart. When you’ve finished shopping, you then scan a barcode at a dedicated checkout point. Paying for your groceries will only take a minute as opposed to ten!

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