How Startups Are Transforming Retail
Startups are changing how retail functions online and offline. From virtual reality to better payment systems, they are transforming the industry. Startups are bringing new and exciting changes to how you shop every day.
Robot Store Associates
Imagine walking into a store and being greeted by a smiling robot that is automatically restocking shelves and keeping track of merchandise. This imaginary scenario is not far from reality. With a gray body that resembles a pole or stick and two black eyes on a digital screen, Tally is a robotic store associate that can analyze shelves. This robot is able to see if items are running low or misplaced. In addition, Tally can check for pricing errors and alert staff before there is a scramble to buy all the mislabeled shampoo bottles for less than a dollar.
Easier Payment Systems
The days of struggling to write a check or fumbling with a credit card are quickly fading. Instead, startups are making it easier for shoppers to pay in convenient ways. They are offering virtual wallets and faster transactions. They are also giving customers more payment options and not restricting them to one method. For example, a point of sale software system allows shoppers to pay with credit cards, Android Pay and Apple Pay. This means no more eye rolls while you waste 10 minutes writing a check at the counter.
Virtual Reality Innovations
Startups know that virtual reality (VR) is the next phase, and it is infiltrating the retail industry. Designers like Tommy Hilfiger are already letting customers attend virtual fashion shows from the comfort of their homes. Other retailers are quickly catching up with both Ikea and Swarovski offering virtual reality shopping apps. You can already purchase virtual store software programs that allow you to visualize a shop’s layout and design. It is clear that VR is becoming accepted and will continue to grow. Soon, everyone will be able to order a new couch or lamp that blends perfectly with the rest of the room without leaving the house.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Most retailers understand the value of retaining happy customers and turning them into repeat shoppers. According to recent data, 79 percent of all consumers search for loyalty programs before buying something, and 74 percent admit to choosing a retailer based on their reward programs. Stores that offer incentives are winning and engaging with more customers.
Startups are also aware of the power of customer reward programs and are part of this trend. They are building customizable loyalty programs that are digital, so shoppers do not have to remember to use a card or coupon. In addition, they make it easier to track points and expiration dates automatically, which gives customer service a break. The days of carrying a dozen customer loyalty cards in your wallet are going away. Instead, you will be able to log into the programs with your phone or other device and instantly get rewards.
Startups are changing how the world shops, and retailers are catching up. From robot associates to reward programs, the way people buy everything is changing.