Retail stores are experiencing a harsh reality of declining foot traffic. However, once a customer comes into a store, there is a good chance she or he will buy something. A recent survey from TimeTrade Shopper reports that 73 percent of shoppers say they prefer to browse online and make purchases in a physical store. To turn browsers into buyers, solution providers need to help retail customers accelerate their use of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), digital signage, and next-generation point-of-sale (POS) technologies.
The newest celebrity chef from California is named Sally. High tech and cool as a cucumber, she has just one specialty: salads. She can make more than 1,000 different combinations, fresh and perfectly proportioned, and serve up a made-to-order, seven-component salad in a minute. Customizable and efficient, Sally is the creation of Chowbotics, Inc., one of the many new companies in the multibillion-dollar market for food service robots.
While home robots that can vacuum and do light household chores are high on the “I-want” list for many consumers, the first robotic encounter for most people may be inside a store. With the ability to manage inventory and perform shelf audits in real-time, take payment for items anywhere inside a store, and even prepare coffee or mix drinks for shoppers, retail robots could be the next best way to keep customers returning to brick-and-mortar stores.
That mirror, mirror on the wall, may soon be the smartest IoT device of them all. Voice-activated and body-controlled smart mirrors can now do everything from displaying local news and weather to reminding seniors which daily prescriptions to grab from the medicine cabinet. Mirrors are becoming a mainstay in automobile manufacturing and showing up in other segments, including healthcare, retail, SMBs, advertising and consumer-driven industries.
Data is becoming a driving force in retail transformation. So much so that Gartner says that "by 2018, retailers engaged in IoT partnerships with major manufacturers will take significant market share from competitors due to direct connections with consumer lives."
What if real shopping carts offered the same ease and functionality as online carts? Your retail clients need to be ready, as new IoT-based shopping carts are ushering in a robotic revolution in stores that may increase in-store sales and reduce checkout wait times.
With a touch screen and interactive brand messaging on its glass-front doors, the VSBLTY intelligent cooler is a whole new level of cool, using IoT to engage customers with the brands chilling inside. For use at point-of-sale in supermarkets and convenience stores, VSBLTY also uses data capture technology that delivers real-time analytics and sales metrics to retailers.
Domino’s Pizza Enterprise is taking customer convenience and home delivery to the next level by cooking up some innovative IoT technology. The company began its quest for innovation by creating mobile apps on all platforms, a responsive website, an easy-click ordering system and making its pizza-tracker technology available on smart watches. Now, it is starting a pilot program to crack the last-mile delivery challenge, enlisting Starship Technologies robots to roll its pizza to the customer doorsteps.