Customers always appreciate when physical stores use advanced technology to improve the shopping experience. A survey by the software platform Boomtown showed the importance of this factor: 44% of the people surveyed said that a positive experience with technology installed in a store made them want to visit and recommend the brand more frequently. Retail giants like Alibaba and recent studies in the sector are pointing out trends for next year:
- Artificial intelligence and personalization
Artificial intelligence has landed in stores and the ideal platform for exploiting its potential is digital signage. Artificial intelligence integrated into signage analyzes the huge flow of in-store customer data by collecting it in real time, anonymously and while respecting their privacy. This data on customer profiles and habits lets you eventually offer optimized information and products to each customer according to the moment.
Integrating tools like cameras, sensors, application and Wi-Fi analysis with AI-based solutions into stores allows you to venture further into personalization. For example, the Minerva solution, currently in development by Beabloo, will be able to know what content will be most interesting to each customer in the store thanks to this intelligent, real-time data processing. With deep learning, these solutions will become more optimized over time and will be able to reach useful conclusions for the business.
- Virtual assistants
Virtual assistants can solve frequently asked questions from customers precisely and in real time. They are also essential for optimizing employee time and minimizing the volume of their repetitive tasks. Virtual assistants let retailers get to know their customers more and makes it fun for customers to interact by turning the shopping experience into a game.
Virtual assistants add personality to a brand. This is what Beabloo’s AI assistant, Halo, does: it invites people to participate and interact. The voice assistant, Halo, interacts with customers through digital signage and helps them find the products they are looking for in addition to letting them know the latest offers, events and activities. Development of this type of technology is in full swing, and it will be very useful for improving the customer shopping experience and the image that customers have of the brand.
Modern customers want to arrive at a store and be informed of the products in stock and their characteristics. They want to feel empowered inside the store and be able to move at their own rhythm based on their needs without having to rely on employees.
In the future, we will see how solutions, like Beabloo’s Lift & Learn, use digital signage combined with interactive technology to reveal information, images or related videos on a digital signage screen about products that a customer holds in their hands. These innovations can compare different products. For example, if a customer lifts two mobile phones from different brands, the closest digital signage screen will show a list of characteristics of both products on a split screen. This type of solution is being developed to break down the barrier between the online and offline worlds in stores and bring the shopping experience to a whole new level.
- The omnichannel model and m-commerce
The needs and expectations of customers require an omnichannel model which brings together the online and offline worlds to make the purchasing process as comfortable as possible. This is all possible thanks to something as common as a mobile phone. Mobile engagement is already making retailers talk about a new concept apart from e-commerce: mobile commerce, or m-commerce.
The Mobile Engagement tool from Beabloo offers all the benefits of this trend by communicating with in-store customers’ smartphones through beacons which attract their attention when they are in a certain location. Customers receive relevant information, promotions and offers either on the store’s app downloaded on their phone, or on the digital signage screens in the store, all personalized. The information shown on the screens can include QR codes that customers can scan to access a website, coupons, offers, applications and so on.
- Towards a-commerce
The next crucial step within next year’s digital signage trends is the concept of automatic commerce, or a-commerce. Stores already know that customers demand technology, personalization, empowerment and freedom. That is why leading retailers work with a fusion of the online and offline worlds in such a way that customers can save the products they were interested in or tried on their phone without having to check out.
Customers can go to a store to see, touch and choose products, but the payment process will be automated so they don’t have to wait in line or carry their purchases home with them. The purchase is made online with the products the customer chooses during their journey around the store. Users scan their mobile devices at the entrance of the store and take what they need. The payment will be made automatically, and the receipt is sent by email.
This evolution of traditional retail, e-commerce and m-commerce will popularize the revolutionary concept of a-commerce. The end goal of a-commerce is to offer the possibility of programming purchases and even predicting them based on the buying patterns of a customer. The predictions of the evolution of retail in 2019 are incredible and have already begun.