The way people are shopping is changing across the world. Retail shopping is predicted to change ten times more in the next 10 years than it has changed in over the past 1000 years or so. The fundamentals of what a store is and what its functions are is already changing. And retailers across the world are resorting to digital technology to provide their customers with a cutting-edge shopping experience, to ensure that they keep coming back to them and remain loyal to their brand.
So what exactly has been changing in the e-commerce experience?
Major Shopping Trends to Look Out by 2020:
A beacon is a small wireless device that continuously transmits radio waves which are picked up by customer smartphones and displays targeted content to the customer. You get to know if your favorite item is on sale when you walk past the store. Powered by BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) which provides device locations, the technology ensures that the customer is in the know about what is happening with their favorite brand or store.
Superstores like Macy’s and Barney’s have already deployed beacons for giving further impetus to their existing sales.
2. Face Recognition
The facial recognition software helps retailers provide a customized experience to the shoppers. The stores want to identify you while you walk in. Using facial recognition which uses 16,000 reference points on your face to create the 3D recognition, stores keeps track of shoppers and their orders. This helps them identify your shopping trends and average spent thereby helping them to concentrate more on the individual needs of the huge spenders. They are also able to track your mood and notify the staff to respond accordingly, creating a sublime personalized experience for the customer.
3. Robot Shopping Assistants/Artificial Intelligence Assistants
Getting a futuristic robot to guide you through products while you grocery shop – how cool is that?!
Your robotic assistants would not only help you choose your products and guide you through the aisles, but they also converse with you in multiple languages. In addition, they use 3D scanning to check stock, find pricing errors, find misplaced items thereby creating a safe and reliable in-store environment for the buyers. The info gathered by robots are then compiled and studied to improve and give recommendations to the store. This also makes it easy for store owners to perform full-store audits regularly.
4. Smart Mirrors/3D Dressing Rooms
Smart mirrors refer to smart displays instead of traditional mirrors. Powered by AI, gesture recognition technology, and virtual reality, the mirror superimposes clothing on to your frame. With just a one-time scan, the technology allows shoppers in visually trying out clothes, accessories or shoes in the store. You get to check out the fit of the clothes without changing. The mirror transforms itself into a visual changing room in front of your eyes. It lets you try out items in different colors, fit and even enables you to try out articles that are currently out of stock. The technology allows you to share your virtual pictures on social media so that your friends get to see and comment their opinions on your choice. It is as if they are with you while shopping!
Cisco Internet Business Group (Cisco IBSG) work with retailers and companies to bring in strategies to lower cost, increase sales and capture market share. Virtual Fashion Mirror is one such idea they came out with. They launched a video in 2010 on virtual shopping – you can try on stuff, check sizes, change colors, add to cart and checkout in a few minutes – all in just one swiping motion. Another invention, XMirror, is also an augmented reality-based 3D Virtual Fitting Solution.
Another advancement in this field is the changing room mirror. Your requests can be posted through their virtual changing room mirrors which are then processed by the store associate app. The store staff will deliver sizes, cuts, and colors as per your requirement. Oak Lab Fitting Rooms have implemented this technology in their stores already.
5. Dedicated Touch Screens & Voice Recognition
Many retailers have started using dedicated touch screens and voice recognition to shop. You could make use of a voice assistant to make your purchases for you.
A typical example is the Adidas future shoe wall – adiVerse. The process is to scroll through their virtual wall, choose your pick, see a 360-degree look of your favorite product, choose your size, enter your initials and choose your purchase. And while you wait for your product to be delivered, you could even watch a movie. You get to save the shoes you liked to your ‘my shoes’ bookmark list to buy later.
6. Auto Checkout
Most major retailers are striving to give auto-checkout options to their customers. Registered users are swiftly identified, and their orders are promptly checked out. Self-service checkouts are even made possible through the customers’ smartwatches and phones. At the checkout, facial recognition brings up the shopper’s order. The customer can walk out with their purchases within minutes.
7. Self – Functioning Stores
Retail outlets are naturally evolving into staffless and stockless stores.
Eg. Amazon Go is a grocery store piloted in Seattle by Amazon which has customers walking in to buy stuff and walking out in a jiffy. You can check in to the store using a QR code in the Amazon Go app. Amazon recognizes you as you walk in, tracks the products you take using high tech cameras and sensors, keeps adding the stuff you pick up to your Amazon cart and bills to your Amazon account once you check out. There is no human contact, cashiers, registers or waiting line. You can walk in, get your stuff and walk out without any hassles of the process.
8. Computer Vision & Natural Linguistics
They have revolutionized retail with their high functionality and ease of use. Computer vision utilizes images and videos available to produce information that helps in enhancing your sales.
Want to know more about the next big thing in shopping?
The next revolution in retail e-commerce is Retail 3D Virtual Shopping. It is the art of combining physical and digital shopping worlds to present a strong omnichannel experience to the customer. The past few years have witnessed all leading brands investing in developing 3D Virtual Shopping. The popular Chinese e-commerce emporium Alibaba, which has over 400 million users, is setting up a research lab to test out virtual reality technology for shoppers and aiming at saving thousands per month for the business.
Experience Commerce – 3D Virtual Shopping
Experience commerce is a result of evolving according to the increasing customer expectations by harnessing data-driven insights to get instant gratification for the customer before, during and after the purchases. This will keep them coming back to the retailers for more. The experience is powerfully intelligent and tracks all transactions across the shopping experience in real time thereby giving individual customers what they want, when they want, where they want, exactly how they want it. The experience is powerfully flexible, dynamically automated and captures, analyzes and measures the efficacy of every transaction across the buyer’s journey.
Animation Stores & Virtual Malls
For retail, 90% of the purchases are still made in stores. Creating a visual ambiance for the customer by recreating the feeling of shopping inside a store or mall would guarantee increased customer flow to your e-store. Most 3D shops/malls are equipped with an interactive 3D walk around, item previews, three-dimensional previews, full catalog for customers to see and try, viewing the article in different colors and sizes and easy checkouts, all with just the swipe of a hand. Most of these websites are multi-browser and multi-device friendly.
The result is a heady concoction of web experience and physical experience in shopping with borderless networking. It has revolutionized the shopping experience and is lauded as the future of shopping. Australia has already launched its first 3D shopping mall – the 360-degree mall – in 2013 giving its buyers a walking around the mall “shopping around” experience.
In the near future, 20% of all retail sales will be online. With an ever-growing number of online shops, it is time to make a wise decision and own a website which will standout and beat all competition.
For the idea to succeed, the process needs to be :
- Accessible from anywhere
Advantages of 3D Shopping :
- Personalised and standardized attention to all potential clients
- Convenient shopping experience for buyers
- Fast selection, buying, and billing processes
- Flexible according to buyer preferences and timings
- Multi-Channel Shopping under a 3D shop
- Engaging Customers in a positive way pushing them to return
Future of the 3D Shopping Market :
- More than 100 million users globally are eager for new content and shopping experiences
- Online shopping stores should extend their reach to tabs and mobile devices
- Sales through mobile platforms are the fastest growing trend in e-commerce. Nearly half of internet access is realized through mobile devices
Features of a 3D Virtual Shop :
- Your online shoppers will be presented with the look and feel of a physical store from the comforts of their home
- Limitless customization is possible in a 3D store, giving free reign to your imagination
- Your CMS (content management system) lets you quickly change prices, descriptions, and promotions of the products you sell
- You can link your traditional website to the new 3D website or build a virtual site from scratch as per your need.
- 3D Virtual Stores gives customers an in-house shopping experience irrespective of the timing since they can access the store using their mobile phones.
- 3D Virtual stores are compatible with an array of devices and platforms, namely, Mac, Android, tablets, mobile phones, laptops, etc.
Buyer Advantages :
- Real life physical feeling of being in a store by being able to walk around and get the look and feel
- You will be able to communicate with your friends and family using the chat options, giving the feel of shopping together
- Able to share your pics and invite recommendations from friends and family through social networking apps
- Get consultation or recommendation from friends or experts about your favorite items through photos, videos and fact sheets with additional information.
- Shopping made easy – shop from your chair or couch with the real-time experience of going out.
Seller Advantages :
- Can sell to a global audience, ensuring same customer service standards to every customer who visits your store, contrary to a physical store
- Easy to use CMS helps in modification and updation of your store at any time with zero efforts. The same goes for window displays, seasonal decorations, and highlights.
- Easy to provide a 24x7x365 shopping assistant to each of your customers irrespective of their purchase frequency or volume
- Easy to procure and analyze customer feedback to better the performance of your e-store
- Easy to reach out to customers by giving special offers and discounts on their favorite articles
Managing a 3D Virtual Store :
- Contrary to the physical stores, the following aspects are easily manageable in a 3D store :
- CMS is very easy to manage
- Upgrade of products made simple
- Anytime store access to buyers spanning across the globe
- In addition to your products lets you place online promotional items such as posters, signs, etc.
- You can choose from available templates or customize your store as per your needs.
Overall Benefits of Owning a 3D Virtual Shop :
- Stand out in a crowd of competitors by being the first one to offer a sublime shopping experience to your customers – Be Unique!
- Spread your reach to the multimillion market of the mobile platform users as well as the global shoppers
- Gather statistics on your users and visitors, learn their feedback and develop new marketing strategies to boost your business
Change the way your customers’ shop. Get your store to look and feel cutting edge. The future is speed tracking to meet you now, not later.