The technology delivering the personal touch to in-store shopping

Interior of Niketown store in Amsterdam city centre.

It’s taken a lot longer than it should – particularly considering the rapid rise and comparative sophistication of online shopping – but finally ‘physical’ retail is starting to get ‘phygital’.

One area in which retailers are seeing demand grow, is for personalised pricing and promotions – delivered direct to shoppers’ mobile devices when they are in-store – driven by consumer expectations which are being shaped by online.

In a recent report developed with Planet Retail RNG, Displaydata found that 33% of shoppers want to be sent offers direct to their mobile when they are in-store and 27% want to be recognized by the store. If 1 in 3 shoppers want it, it’s no longer a ‘nice-to-have capability; and with the technology now mature enough, the solutions can be, at the very least, be cost-effectively trialed.

It is following a similar path to that travelled by Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs), which have moved the traditional, generic and old-school paper label on to the point where they are regarded as a must-have solution by innovative retail businesses.

Working with our eco-system of strategic partners, we are helping our retail customers to drive powerful in-store customer engagement with ‘next stage’ solutions which include Augmented Reality (AR), Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons (BLE), Near Field Communication (NFC) and geo-location technology for product selection.

As well as shoppers receiving welcome messages and location-based offers using Bluetooth enabled ESLs, the use of an AR location services platform, allows retailers to develop searchable store maps to help consumers better navigate through stores.

AR technology enables consumers to search for a product by general term, specific brand name, product or unique product code using their mobile phone and the retailers app. Once a shopper finds the desired product on the app, they can tap on the item to begin navigation via a top-down view of the store, and a virtual navigation arrow shows the user’s precise location and orientation to the product.  Navigation begins, and the shopper can find all the items in their shopping list by following the navigation to that item.  And then, when they arrive in front of a product, the ESL can deliver real-time promotional or product information

The AR mobile app can also help shoppers discover promotional or product information strategically placed throughout the store, based on their shopping habits or preferences; provide special offers or information unique to the shopper and enable them to view highlights of the product’s shelf location with AR callouts.

This interaction between online and in-store is possible through the centralised software that is deployed within the solution. Although this use of AR is at the early stage, the use of Bluetooth enabled ESLs for location-based marketing to individual shoppers is already fully implementable.

Whether at the early stages of adoption or fully fledged, technologies like AR, BLE and NFC – combined with must have ESL solutions – are key to delivering the tailored interactions and digital relationships that shoppers expect, and which better reflect the hyper connected, IoT world we now live in. The question is, which savvy retailers will be ready to start courting them?

Jerzy Wielgus, SVP of Product Management at Displaydata