Convergence of technology and retail

The nightmarish specter of endless queues at checkout counters with people jostling to get to the front will soon be thing of the past. Shopping will no longer be a major weekend chore but rather a pleasant family activity along with other fun activities at the mall. All this is becoming possible because of greater adoption of cutting edge technology in retail. With cut throat competition eroding consumer loyalty at a tremendous pace, the retail industry in India is increasingly turning to technology to achieve brand differentiation. The Apple Retail Store model is now within the grasp of most Indian retailers big and small.

The key to customer satisfaction lies in improving the shopping process by: ensuring ready availability of popular products, multiple and efficient billing and payment options, and access to assistance any time and any where in the store. Technology solutions are available today that can address all these needs for an enhanced retail experience. Let’s take a look at a few of the novel technologies that have changed the face of the retail industry in India.

Mobile technology

Targeting the young crowd, retail companies are concentrating on the use of mobile technology. There are numerous apps that enable shopping at a click on your hand-held devices. Retailers make sure that all their services and goods are hosted online and are available for mobile users with instant access. Users are now comparing, ordering and buying goods online on a daily basis. Enabling bill payments and all transactions using mobile has also diminished the need of coinage.

In store Internet access

A lot of retail stores now provide Internet access to their visitors to keep them in their store for a longer period of time. The advantage is it might be an attraction for the customers and maybe a deciding factor to choose the store. The store uses this to advertise and promote products on their network. It helps the customers to compare with the similar products available elsewhere and make a quick buying decision.

UPC Barcode

UPC stands for Universal Product Code. It is a machine-recognizable code with parallel lines of varying width and numbers printed on the commodity and has information related to it. It is a 12-digit code. It is a unique identification for the commodity. A scanner that reads the barcode identifies the item and the associated cost and bills the total amount. Use of barcode has now reduced the wait time that otherwise went in product identification and billing. It also helps keep a check on shoplifting as scanners do not allow non-billed barcoded items.

RFID

RFID (Radio frequency identification) tags help retailers recognize mixed items on the market shelf and help sort them so as to not confuse the buyer. It enables retailers to replenish items that are run-out on market shelf by giving notifications. It helps to scan multiple items at times and makes bill payments quicker.

Incorporating digital shopping experience for improved customer experience, faster checkout, and quick bill payments is leveraging big bucks for retail. These are a few technologies that have taken the retail industry and customer experience to new levels. These intuitive ways enable retailers to survive and maintain their happy customers. This new age marketing trend is getting a warm welcome from shoppers, especially in India.

Shilpa Rao is a Marketing Consultant at Compassites Software Solutions. She handles content development & curation for the firm. She has completed M.Tech in Computer Science and engineering. She started her career as a content developer for an SEO company. She also has experience working as a content analyst for managerial and technical content in e-learning companies. Shilpa likes reading various technical books and watching television is her favorite pastime.

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