Press Clip : 2014 03 marzo-Beacons-and-smart-stores-will-make-shopping-malls-fun-again
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Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Clip : 2014 03 marzo-Beacons-and-smart-stores-will-make-shopping-malls-fun-again
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Beacons and Smart Stores Will Make Shopping
Malls Fun Again
March IA, 2014, 7:30 AM PDT
Q By Himunsllu Sureen, Founder and CEO, Icreon Tech
What will it take to make shopping at the mall exciting again? In the face of the 31.:
trillion e-commerce industry. retail brands are in need of a way to evolve the ph_vsical
shopping experience. A recent New Yorker article even went so far as to ask if the very idea
of commercially iab1e mall properties is over in the I'. S.
With intuitively designed apps. highly interactive websites and same—day shipping all
widely available. it's an uphill battle for retailers. But thanks to signiﬁcant tecluiologcal
innovation, the smarter store is on its way.
Although retailers are struggling ‘with drixing foot traffic to physical stores, there are
certain pioneers that are infusing technology to replicate e—commerce experiences in a
physical setting. Blue-tooth Low Energy appliances, otherwise known as “be-acons. " are one
example of the latest advancements in retail tech. Beacons are now being used to sense
and track smartphones and feature phones to optimize retail operations.
In the same way that e-commerce brands use mouse tracking. heat mapping. engagement
analysis and who-knows-what-else to assess shopping habits. physical stores are
beginning to replicate such analysis yxith beacons and BLE.
While the current options for in-store implementation are limited to a few pioneering
companies. the potential for innovative applications by retailers is high. Through a
combination of kiosks. smart mirrors and branded companion apps that utilize beacon
technology. retailers can now create futuristic shopping experiences that appeal to a
generation glued to its phones.
Guided browsing and recommendations
Brousing the aisles of a store ith the help of an accompanying app is already a reality in
today’s retail landscape. American Eagle Outfitters, Staples and Nordstrom are using
mobile devices as a means to communicate offers and analyze physical shopping habits.
For instance. when customers who have downloaded the companion app visit a Staples
location, they receive a geo—fence—enabled coupon.
Combined with beacon and BLE technology. these technologies help to provide real-world
shopping experiences inspired by tactics online. Vsing in-store mapping software from
Shopkick and the iPhone 55 iBeacon. American Eagle Outfitters is introducing the
teclmology in more than 100 locations to provide guided navigation and deliver custom
Along with providing novel. memorable experiences for shoppers, technology serves as a
powerful analysis tool for retailers. Stores are already installing kiosks and mirrors that
double as responsive displays. as seen at Burberry. Vsing Kinect-type motion sensing
technology and 3-D photography. shoppers may someday be able to stand in front of a
smart mirror and try things on using a digital changing-room app‘ Smart displays are
already able to sense metrics regarding browsing habits and shopping patterns to deliver
personalized recommendations and assess product layouts.
These types of implementations will eventually be evtended using wearable computers.
I'sing the example of a grocery store. shoppers would receive suggested—product bundles
created by assessing their transaction histories. A grocers app can potentially provide
preset shopping lists. accompanied by guided pathways through the store. Preset shopping
lists can be themed for dieters. weight lifters. barbecue hosts and other proﬁles. Using the
Heads—l'p Display on Google Glass, an augmented—reality direction arrow can lead the
Replicating online shopping in real life
Companion apps combined with beacon tracking are also being used by retailers to upsell
and cross-sell items. and to customize shopping experiences for xisitors. Shoppers at
Macy's are using the Shopkick app with the new ShopBeacon service. Customers navigate
a store with their phone. and the app delivers offers via notifications. depending on
location. The notiﬁcations are customized according to speciﬁc departments and store
sections. Similar services are being rolled out at Safeway and Giant Eagle grocery stores
While these systems provide substantial personalization for customers. the information
gathered from tracking shopping trends is arguably more valuable. Tracking data can be
used to refine and experiment with store layouts. in the same way Web development teams
conduct A/ B testing on an e—commerce site.
If the current progress with in-store technology is a sign of things to come. the future of
shopping will likely replicate scenes from a science-ﬁction ﬁlm. There is already facial
sentiment analysis technology that assesses mood. gender and temperament. Retina
scanners are also in existence. and because a person’s retina is unique. that technology
might replace I'DIDs, customer tracking and even mobile payments.
Once a brand understands how to strategically use beacon tecluiology without unsettling
shoppers. it can create physical retail experiences that rival the golden days of shopping
malls. Retailers should aim to create shopping experiences that are so irresistible and
immersive that the very idea of heading to a retail store is an exciting high-tech event.
Himmrshu Sarccn is formdcr and CEO of the softrrirrre dcvelopmentﬁrnr Icreorr Tech.
Reach hint @IcrconTcch.
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