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Retail Industry Trends and Technology Innovations (Part 1)

Retail Innovation

This month Davy Dauvergne of Cegid’s Product Marketing and Retail Innovation Department joins us to talk about technology innovations, retail trends and the future of the high street.

Tell us a little bit about Cegid’s innovation store…

Our Innovation Store is based in Cegid’s headquarters in Lyon, France and is a place where we showcase the latest innovations in an in-store environment. We demonstrate Cegid solutions as well as those of our partners, including market leaders such as HP, Paypal and also interesting start-ups. The physical store is a key part of the retail experience however we believe that retailers must rethink the stores and create a new interactive, consumer-oriented approach.

Our innovation store allows us to demonstrate in a pragmatic way what in-store technologies can do to:

  • Enhance the customer experience and
  • Optimise and streamline store management

Part of the Cegid Omnichannel retailing vision is to provide a seamless shopping experience across channels (web, store, mobile) and our in-store technologies are an essential part of bringing the brand experience together. We demonstrate a number of Omnichannel scenarios including Click and Collect, Mobile POS, Shopper Identification and much more.

 

What are the most promising retail technology innovations in the market at the moment?

It’s all about digital disruption!

The biggest innovation is the already in the pocket of the customer – the smartphone! Today’s connected customer uses a wide range of different technologies throughout the purchase path. We must understand how this increased connectivity impacts the retailer and the ways we can best serve the customers’ needs. We must ensure that at each touch point we are giving the customer the correct information on the correct channel and device.

The mobile device is being used to compare prices, get discounts, present loyalty cards and finally to pay. The challenge for retailers is to use this to their advantage to offer rewards and enhance the relationship with the brand.

Social networks are an ideal way to get interest, capture information and engage with influencers. Burberry is a perfect example of this marketing strategy used effectively to target over 3 billion consumers worldwide.

In our recent internal study, we discovered that a shopper expects more services and to build new relationships with sales representatives. Also, 60% of retailers surveyed want to enhance this relationship. We want to bring the tools and the information to make this possible.

 

Walletwars

We are moving toward a mobile and cashless society. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Paypal are engaged in the ‘Walletwars’ trying to get the biggest slice of the virtual currency pie. We need to understand how this will impact retailers and ensure that they are prepared.

 

Contactless technology

Contactless technology is a rapidly moving field and offers lots of opportunities for retailers to interact with customers on the move. The Estimote beacon, for example, is a fascinating development that will recognise visitors to a shop and their location in-store. Tailored messages can then be sent to the customer based on the items they are browsing. Customers can check out online via the app and the goods are delivered directly to their home. It’s all about avoiding friction and facilitating commerce.

 

Personalised experiences

Customers want personalised interactions with their brands, “an on demand service”. IT developments must support retailers to make this augmented service possible but also ensure operations are streamlined.

Big Data is one of the tremendous ways to gather all the knowledge from our customer insights to better serve the customers by understanding their preferences and personalising communications to suit them. This increases sales, builds relationships and enhances loyalty over time.

 

What innovations do you think we will see in stores in the future?

There will be a number of choices for retailers based on the service they want to provide. For example, mobile POS will enable retailers to enhance the customer experience whereas self-checkout innovations will allow other retailers to be less involved in the sales process.

3D printers will be able to customise products in-store allowing customers to personalise their purchase in real time. These printers will facilitate physical mock-ups and prototypes at a low cost. This is already happening in France with a retailer offering personalised iPhone cases. There are lots of possibilities with this technology, especially for jewellery.

Physical Store Scanning is becoming more prominent. The Gucci flagship store in Milan, Italy, for example, offers a virtual tour of the shop.  The interactive 360° photo of the store extends the store visit to provide an immersive experience online.

Smartphone apps and mobile websites will be more useful with store locator information and all the practical information to facilitate a visit. They will need to enable customers to reserve products and make appointments with sales reps before their arrival to enrich the experience.

As video and camera recognition develops this will allow customers to take a picture of an item then identify and order it online in a similar way that Shazam works for music. Customers could see a product on TV, in a magazine or somebody wearing it on the high street and then buy it directly through their iPhone or wearable technology like Google Glass.

We’ll continue to integrate best practices from the web into the store since they are connected, in order to understand, track customers, enhance the customer purchase path and improve the experience and service, all to optimise the conversion funnel.

The store of the future will not necessarily be enclosed area between four walls, but a physical community where guests can interact with each other and get advice from specialists. Customers will be more and more involved in the retailer’s community, allowing them to imagine and build the product via the social network, recommend and share ideas with the community, participate and be an integral part of the retail experience.

Join us on Thursday for part 2 of this interview in which Davy talks about retail trends and the future of the high street…

5 May 2015
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