Robots also sneak in points of sale to perform tasks such as charging, opening and closing the door, folding clothes, acting as a security agent or answering frequent questions, among others.
The store of the future takes shape. There are some technologic tools that are beginning to be seen in points of sale and everything indicates that they will be spreading throughout the retail sector in the following years. These tools focus on four key developments: biometric technology, AI, computer vision and the Internet of Things, according to the study Retail 360 Connected stores, prepared by Deloitte consulting.
In China, Alibaba has popularized the concept of paying with a selfie. In stores, we are starting to see the possibility of purchasing by showing our face and, in case of using our phone to make payments, it can even be done with a photograph. Biometric technology also allows to allow operations with the fingerprint, among other functions.
Until now AI and machine learning have been mainly applied in the field of operations, but some retail operators are already applying them on consumer experience. Macy’s, for example, has applied that technology in an app that allows browsing through their stores, while The North Face is using it in e-commerce to help digital users.
Biometric technology already allows to pay with the fingerprint or even the face
However, according to Deloitte, AI will move towards giving support to shop staff in order to advise customers in real time about the products. Another tool that gains importance is computer vision used to monitor what happens in the point of sale. That is, to have a real-time feedback of what happens at the store through image and video.
This way, tasks that staff usually do in the stores can be automatized, like for example, checking the inventory, analyzing the customers’ preferences, their profiles or how they move around the store. With this information, it is possible to understand the behavior of customers in store and react to that in order to boost sales.
In this regard, the report also recommends adding this technology to other tools such as RFID to describe the interaction of consumers with products and add more information to the analysis. The Internet of Things, for instance, has to do with the integration of data coming from different sources to help the staff of a store.
Store staff will be brand ambassadors while the simplest tasks will be performed by robots
Robotics also sneak in stores to perform tasks such as charging, opening and closing the door, acting as a security agent or answering frequent questions. These are tasks that have remained intact for centuries and now, for the first time, will be automated.
The introduction of robots in points of sale does not mean that there is no human presence in them, but that the staff has more available time to attend consumers. According to the study, whatever the type of store, people will always want to interact with people.
Hence, the future of stores will be based the empowerment of employees and the improvement of their position within the store to convey the values of the brand and its history and, for this, it will be necessary to automate all processes of lower value.