Asset: Innovations That Could Help Transform Store Experience

Blog Post | April 30, 2019

Innovations That Could Help Transform Store Experience
See the asset Share the page
  • blog_posts
Add a tag
Social Media

Download Image

We all know that brick-and-mortar retailers need to adopt some of the digital playbook of their online counterparts to stay competitive. But how can retailers actually get the upper hand?

The key—as the Wharton School’s Barbara Kahn pointed out in our previous post on the trends shaping retail—is enhancing the customer experience. And technology has the potential to provide just the boost retailers need to bring together the best of both the online and in-store worlds for an experience online-only retail can’t match.

Two innovations taking off in 2019 point the way forward, demonstrating how retail stores can thrive in the digital age.

Bluetooth in Everything

At this year’s Big Show by the National Retail Federation, a little-noticed Israeli startup called Wiliot showed off its battery-free Bluetooth stickers.

Little-noticed, that is, by most of the trade show attendees walking past the booth it shared with Avery Dennison. But Wiliot’s mere presence with the label-making giant showed just how seriously industry takes the potential of battery-free Bluetooth. Avery, for example, has joined Samsung, Amazon, and other big players investing tens of millions of dollars in Wiliot.

In essence, the stickers give shoppers a way to “click” on real-world products the same way they can online. For under $1 a sticker, any product can sense when it’s being picked up. That means when a customer takes an item off the store shelf or rack, a smartphone app can display, suggested pairings,care instructions, discounts based on past purchases, and more – which leads to bigger baskets and better-satisfied customers.

Wiliot’s stickers work by harvesting radio frequency energy from nearby cell phones, wi-fi routers, and other sources, to power tiny Bluetooth radios and sensors without batteries. That makes them small, cheap, and long-lived. Wiliot plans to start shipping its battery-free Bluetooth stickers in 2020.

Smart Checkout

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle last year, spending $1 million on tech that allows shoppers to grab items without checking out.

That kind of money is out of reach for many retailers, but vendors such as Caper are betting big that hassle-free smart checkout will revolutionize shopping, as long as it’s affordable to retailers.

Caper announced early this year that its smart shopping carts, which let customers bypass the checkout lane without requiring retailers to install expensive infrastructure, were already rolling down the aisle at two grocery chains. It plans to expand the list to 150 more in 2019.

The key innovation here is packing the sensors and processing needed for smart checkout into a mobile platform – ie, a customer’s shopping cart. Rather than requiring a retailer to provide sensor coverage for every shelf in the store, Caper lets them deploy a limited number of carts that bring the sensors to the shelf as needed. To make a purchase, customers pass a product in front of the onboard scanner and drop it into the cart, swiping a card at the end of a shopping trip to pay.

Is 2019 the year smart checkout breaks out? Good chance, but probably only in specific locations such as convenience stores where customers neither need nor expect help from a store associate.

Enhancing the Human Experience

For those cases where customers need stellar customer service, they’ll get it where they always have: face-to-face and in person with a knowledgeable sales rep who can help guide them with the attention that only another person can provide. In that area of customer experience, brick-and-mortar retail still has the advantage, and will continue to have it into the foreseeable future.

That’s because creating the right store experience—one that e-commerce can’t provide—isn’t just about installing technology for novelty’s sake or because customers expect technology to follow them into every aspect of their lives. It’s about using it in ways that actually enhance the human experience. And that includes for store associates as well as customers. Because even if you install the latest shiny toy, you still need to be able to roll it out to customers who will appreciate it, and give team members a reason to care about it.

Fill out the form to generate your link

What is a UTM and what does this form do?

A UTM is a set of parameters added to a link that tells Google Analytics how that visitor got to our site. And this form helps you make one!

Don't forget, whatever you fill in here will be seen by whoever you share the link with, so be sure not put anything in here that wouldn't necessarily be obvious or worse, could be insulting; ex. don't make the 'campaign' tier-3-prospects.

Please be sure to use all lower case, and dashes-instead-of-spaces.

If there is a gated version (behind a form fill), you will be able to select the gated or ungated (direct to the content) link.

Most common Zipline sources are:

  • linkedin
  • salesloft
  • paid
  • sales
  • qr-code
  • newsletter

The 'Source' is where the traffic is coming from, or the referrer.

Most common Zipline medium are:

  • social
  • email
  • banner
  • sem
  • event

Medium describe 'how' the traffic is coming to the site. So for example, clicks from LinkedIn or Twitter are coming through social media, so we simply call it 'social'. Another example is for email newsletter or direct sales email, the medium would be 'email'.

Current campaigns include:

  • zipline360
  • retail-talent
  • nrf
  • abm
  • holiday-comms

The campaign is an internal description of whichever campaign the link is a part of. Are you promoting an event like NRF? use 'nrf'. Maybe it's part of a new marketing campaign, then use the name of that campaign!

Term is optional, but can be used if there is a keyword associated with where you're sharing the link. This parameter is generally used to identify the search term used to find a paid ad for example.

Content is a good parameter to use when you are sharing multiple links from the same source/medium. If you have the same link in two different LinkedIn posts, you could use 'content' to differentiate based on the thumbnail used, or time of day. For example, 'Content' could be 'wed-afternoon' and 'thurs-morning' to describe when it was posted, or 'platform-thumbnail' or 'man-holding-clipboard' to describe the image associated with the link.

Your UTM link will display here after filling out the form