Three trends for next generation retail
We are fast approaching a day when we can assume 100% of shoppers will be connected 100% of the time. To survive and thrive in this environment, retailers need to start preparing for that day now, as the data tells us that this time will be here sooner than many think.
Beacons will double this year and there will be 400 million beacons by 2021**, some projections put AR and VR investment in retail at close to $30 billion by 2020 (from nothing today) and mobile is growing 300% faster than eCommerce.
All this to say that in a world where nearly everyone is always online, there is no offline. So it is not about the digital business, it is just business. It’s not about eCommerce, it is simply commerce.
Frictionless Commerce - The end of the plastic credit card could be a step closer as global brands are increasing their use of frictionless technology responding to demand from shoppers wanting to make purchases quicker and easier.
FingoPay - Developed by British start-up Sthaler, uses a biometric reader to scan the veins of a shopper’s finger, building up a map that is unique to each individual.
By connecting this pattern with a credit card or bank account, the company plans to let shoppers pay simply by placing their finger in a pocket-sized scanner, doing away with cash and credit cards.
A London bar, Proud has signed up to test with their regulars, who seem happy, partly because it was fast and reliable, and partly because of the novelty of using your finger to buy a round of drinks.
NFC Ring - The Visa ring that was given to a select group of sponsored athletes to use during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is now available on pre-order.
The wearable tech solution — a near-field-communication-based payment ring that syncs directly to its user’s credit card account. It works exactly like using your Visa card through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay, minus the phone (and the fingerprint sensor). The ring itself, according to Visa, is especially suited for everyday use because it doesn’t need to be taken off. It does not need to have its batteries replaced or be recharged regularly.
Barclay - Sometimes the best ideas are those that seem so obvious, you wonder why they haven't been done before. Barclaycard's first contactless, self-serve beer pump falls into this category.
Using a play on the “Pay @ Pump” options offered at petrol stations, the prototype “Pay @ Pump” beer pump has been designed to reduce queues at the bar on a night out. You go to the pump, scan any contactless card and place a glass under the pump.
Once the payment has been approved, a pint of ale is automatically poured. Sensors in the barrel register how much alcohol has been dispensed and once a full pint is served, the pump closes. The whole process takes 60 seconds.
The pump was designed after a survey found the average wait at the bar on a night out is 12 minutes. It was tested late last month at Henry’s Café and Bar in Piccadilly and if there is enough interest from bars and restaurants, Barclaycard said it may consider rolling out the technology further.
Oyster Card - Digging around for your public transportation card can often be a nuisance. That’s why a fashion student in London created a set of acrylic nails that can be used instead of a physical card.
The card reader on the turnstile picks up the chip just as it would in a plastic card. So instead of fishing through a purse or pulling out a wallet, this now provides an opportunity for a simple tap of some nails to enter.
Retail Automation: Making Life Even Faster - In 2017, it’s no secret that consumers want things faster, easier and cheaper. For businesses to satisfy the increasingly time poor customer, it’s becoming more important to automate certain tasks to save time, effort and cost. Automation is not a new phenomenon, humans have been building machines for hundreds of years to make things easier (and cheaper). In 2017, we make things easier with smart technology.
Just look to the retail giants and you can see where automation is taking the category. Walmart’s designing automated shopping carts that will lead the customer to the item. 7/11 completed the first ‘Slurpee delivery’ via drone last year. Domino’s built DRU – a robotic delivery robot in New Zealand that is capable navigating roads & footpaths.
This is exciting times for businesses and advertisers as new channels and opportunities are developed to satisfy consumers. Walmart’s throwing the in-store experience on its head, by products finding the consumer instead of the consumer finding the products. By having a programmable shopping trolleys, the business can now personally tailor a customer’s journey through the store and make sure they get the best experience possible. 7/11 are taking this one step further by bringing their products, via drone, straight to your backyard! The Federal Aviation Administration is predicting over 7 million small drones occupying US air space by 2020 – so expect to see many more Unidentified-Flying-Slurpees. A Japanese delivery company - Yamanto Transport, is currently trialling self-driving delivery vans giving them the ability to distribute packages 24/7, 365 days a year. What does this mean for brands? Well, brands could look to stock ‘mobile stores’ that circulate cities waiting for customers to order online and then divert themselves straight to the address, all within the hour.
The flipside of automation is those individuals whose jobs get super-seeded by technology. It is predicated many retail workers will lose their jobs in the coming decade due to automation. This is an unfortunate side-effect of progression, but one that should not hinder it. As jobs are super-seeded, new ones are continuously developed. The future of retail automation is exciting and also unknown as technology is rapidly evolving. For our sake, let’s hope Communication isn’t super-seeded anytime soon.
Retail Proximity: To Opt-in Or Out? Historians will look back and determine it was roughly 2008 when humans evolved their 5th limb (no, we’re not talking about that…) – the smartphone. This evolution of ‘let’s put everything in the palm of their hand’ really revolutionised the digital world. Suddenly everyone, everywhere is connected and communicating in real-time. The smartphone has given businesses unbelievable insight and access to their consumers. This latest trend - proximity advertising, uses a consumers GPS coordinates to serve push-notifications with location-specific content and offers.
The most obvious challenge is the opt-in. With current privacy laws brands can’t independently send you push-notifications to your smartphone without your permission. This means brands must drive users to opt-in to receive any communication and if that first experience is not worthwhile users will very quickly opt-out. No brand or consumer wants this to replicate the graveyard of unread eDM’s in your inbox.
The opportunity, if done right, is massive – just ask Elle, who drove over 500,000 store visits through their Shop Now program. Being able to effectively target not only nearby-potential customers, but ones with a much higher intention to buy, can and will drive bodies into stores. This space is moving fast with many tech giants testing the waters. Location marketing platform xAd has launched Marketplace – a self-service location-campaign builder for mobile marketers. Marketplace essentially wants to sell locations like SEM keywords, it’s the first of its kind and could really shake up mobile advertising (More info: bit.ly/2r89Wct ). A personal favourite of ours – Heineken NZ’s new app ‘LIVE’. This app uses innovative technology to encourage Kiwis to discover the best parts of their cities. There are iBeacons installed into 120 Heineken outlets across the country and this technology combined with your smartphone’s GPS recognizes that you’re out and about and rewards app users with surprise experiences such as helicopter rides, flights around the country, or VIP access to special events. Rewarded for drinking? That sounds dangerously great, find more info here: bit.ly/2qYA4Hl.
We have no doubt this technology is the way forward, it’s really now up to brands and advertisers to make sure it’s an experience worth opting-in for.