3 digital technologies to look out for in the retail world that will change the way we shop

Not long ago I attended the Retail E-Commerce Conference in Sydney, there was lots of interesting insights across the e-commerce and mobile space.

One of the big takes out for me, and a trend that was mirrored by a number of speakers, is how the physical and digital worlds are converging. Technological and mobile trends are slowing infiltrating down to retail level intrinsically changing the way people shop in-store. Here is a snapshot of technological advancements that I found really interesting.

mPort - 3D body scanner

A product has launched in NSW and VIC, enabling you to jump into a booth that will scan your body and take over 200,000 points of measurement. They have partnered with a number of bricks & mortar and e-retailers which means you can sync your measurements with the product measurement ensuring that it fits you perfectly!  Given that some consumers are still fearful of online shopping and the risks associated, no doubt the mPort body scanner will be a great competitive advantage for pure-play online retailers.

Beacon technology

Mobile statistics show that eight out of 10 shoppers use their device in-store to review product information, competitors and pricing and at any one time will spend an average of 15 minutes on their device researching. Knowing this, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to push offers and information through beacon technology. For example a mannequin in a shop window, in-store or even through high traffic areas, can be equipped with beacons. Customers who have chosen to have offers sent to them, will be alerted when close to the mannequin. The beacon will send information about the clothes, accessories and pricing and where they can purchase the product, both in store and online.

Hointer – online shopping in-store

Probably one of the most interesting speakers at the event was Nadia Shouraboura, who owns Hointer, a retailer in the US that has a product portfolio of jeans, shirts and tops. Thinking about the in-store experience and how she could integrate technology and give customers a seamless experience, Shouraboura showcases approximately 150 styles of their products on cleverly designed cables throughout the store. Walking into store, you download their mobile application which you scan over the QR code through your device. Similar to beacon technology, this will give you product reviews and even insights into which celebrities are wearing the product. You choose your size and can continue to shop or the device will assign your clothing to a dressing room where micro-robotics will deliver your items for you to try on! I saw a short video on this, and it’s very cleaver. What you don’t want is discarded down a chute and the products will be automatically deleted from your shopping cart. Wanted items can be swiped on an in-store tablet and you can use a credit card to make payment immediately, essentially checking yourself out. This is truly a new way of shopping and has a lot of upside for the customer. The advantage to the retailer is decreased overheads due to less space required to stock product on floor, but also an increase in sales, as the average customer typically tries on more products given the ease and speed of shopping.


Jo Krause

Executive Consultant Digital