i3 - January/February 2018 - 49

"At the same time," she says, "VR/AR offers retailers opportunities to create immersive new consumer experiences that lead to purchase. Macy's
and Alibaba tested VR Shopping for Chinese Singles' Day last year."
Voice-activated commerce is also entering into the fray. The specificity of
a voice query can let you carry on a conversation with an interactive ad for
a car or a home appliance, for example. Amazon's Alexa (with 70 percent of
the voice market) recently announced alliances with Google and Walmart.
Chatbots and messenger services make it possible to go from that shopping
thought in your head through purchase without ever speaking to a human.

A LIFELONG CUSTOMER

Behind the shiny experiences drawing in customers is a plethora of
tools to maximize the chances that businesses are talking to the right
customer about the right product at the right moment in their lives.
But that is easier said than done. Context- and proximity-sensitive
advertising, loyalty programs and a ton of predictive analytics are the
building blocks of a custom shopping experience. Sih Lee, senior vice
president of payments technology and innovation at Synchrony
Financial is experimenting with a variety of engagement tools. "We can,
for example, provide the ability to apply for credit cards through personal devices, brand your checkout experience through an instant buy
button, or securely pay without entering all your login details." All these
details make for a more frictionless experience.
Tabitha Creighton, senior vice president of payment for IQmetrix, says
simple improvements to inventory systems and a well-trained and connected sales force training may be less sexy, but equally important.
"Technology investment is more than just chasing all the shiny new
things," she emphasizes. "In order to optimize impact it's critical that
retailers evaluate and prioritize technology investments according to their
business and customer needs. New products like Dor - an intuitive wireless, thermal sensing people counter and analytics dashboard - can help
manage your staff, and smart earpiece systems that connect to inventory
enable a salesperson to be more helpful.

ABOVE:
TriMirror is
a virtual dressing room where
online shoppers create
personal avatars and have
a fitting room
experience.
RIGHT: In the
San Francisco
Lowe's store
the Lowebot,
a robotic shopping assistant,
guides you to
your aisle.

THE SECRET SAUCE OF IOT

Turning the items we buy into smart items is an obvious endgame in
the smart shopping journey. From cans to cars and carpets, the mission
of software company "evrythng" is to turn everyday items into smart
IoT devices. The simple idea is that items tagged with relevant information from where they are in the supply chain to where they are in inventory or where they are in someone's closet is constantly updated. "By
leveraging the Internet of Things, retail brands can catch up to Amazon,
creating a real-time fully instrumented supply chain, and then delivering better and more personalized service experiences to shoppers," says
Andy Hobsbawm, chief marketing officer of evrythng.
Of course there are lots of kinks to iron out and mistakes to be made
as businesses reach for the hearts and minds of customers. There is no
shortage of jokes about Google still offering you trips to Venice when
you returned weeks ago. And excessive loyalty deals and special offers
are almost mind numbing. But as technology improves its ability to
make shopping an adventure, to personalize the experience, and to
instill customer loyalty and brand authenticity, it will usher in a new
era of smarter retail almost indistinguishable from magic.

2018

AT CES 2018, the High Tech Retailing Summit will explore how retailers
find technology that will create long-term customer engagement.

C TA . t e c h / i 3

YouCam has teamed up
with Estée Lauder to allow
shoppers to try on shades
of lipstick using an app
before they purchase.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

49


https://www.cta.tech/ https://www.ces.tech/Conference/ConferenceProgram/Conference-Tracks/High-Tech-Retailing-Summit.aspx http://www.cta.tech

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - January/February 2018

Contents
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