Technology never sits still, and the way it’s been advancing over the past few decades has dramatically changed many aspects of day-to-day life, including the way we shop. We used to rely on human interaction and a little catalog shopping for all of our consumer needs. Now, various new pieces of tech have made it possible to walk into a store and buy something without ever talking to someone. Here’s a look at some of the biggest ways technology has changed retail…
RFID Tags Have Simplified Inventory
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is standard in a lot of retail outlets now, and has totally overturned the model of the traditional checkout, made it easier to keep track of merchandise, and allowed retail workers to serve customers far more efficiently. It’s also opened up totally new facets to the shopping experience in certain niches, such as the young technology of “smart fitting rooms”. Customers are able to scan a piece of clothes’ RFID tag, access the product’s data, and get recommendations for similar pieces.
Tablets Have Changed the Way We Handle Payments
If there’s one piece of tech that’s shaken up credit card processing companies more than any others, it’s the release and subsequent popularity of the tablet. While their role in retail business started off fairly small, they’ve really snowballed in popularity, and are now an essential piece of equipment for countless brick-and-mortar stores. With the integration of simple software, tablets can now be used as a kind of mobile cash register, making the shopping experience more convenient and efficient for both customers and shop staff. While some outlets have opted to keep their staff as a part of the checkout process, aiming to maintain a certain standard of customer service, the introduction of tablets in retail has allowed many stores to totally ditch the traditional checkout model. A lot of card-reading and cash register apps have allowed physical merchants to receive credit and debit payments using iPads and android devices. Furthermore, staff can use these mobile devices to track sales at any time using a simple interface. Payment apps are only becoming more and more sophisticated, and the role of tablets in retail business certainly isn’t going to diminish soon!
Price Comparison Apps Have Upped the Competition
Today, there’s a class of apps which retail business owners aren’t too fond of: price comparison apps. Today, anyone with a mobile device and an app like Aislebuyer can walk into a store, scan some of the merchandize on the shelves, and instantly check the price in the store against various alternatives. These apps are exceedingly popular when it comes to large, occasional purchases, like a new TV. Now that customers have instant access to mark-up prices from all kinds of other retail outlets, it’s become more important than ever for stores to go above and beyond expectations to retain a healthy flow of customers. If you’re not beating the competition on price, then you’ll have to on customer service, quality of products, or some other buying factor.