Smart Retail refers to a set of smart technologies that are designed to give consumers a greater, faster and safer experience when shopping. The emerging idea of “Smart Retailing” reflects a platform in which retailers and customers use smart technologies to reinvent and reinforce their roles in the sharing service and improve the quality of customer experiences by providing superior and personalized retail services. According to a recent report, investments in smart retail technology (SRT) are estimated to have been around $14 billion in 2015, a figure which will likely grow by 20% annually to $36 billion by 2020. So what constitutes to Smart Retail?

According to Gretzel (2015), smart retailing should aim to support the users (and customers) in the following ways: a) Anticipating consumer needs and making recommendations with respect to different choices in the context-specific purchase occasions. b) Enhancing customers' in-store (both physical and digital) experiences by offering enriched information based on location and interaction. c) Enabling customers to navigate through their purchase decision journey seamlessly.

Therefore, to effectively carry out smart retail, these are some elements we propose.

Firstly, there should be an online business carried out. Online platforms are not only cheap, it has a large number of reach, hence it can help you promote your business. Through these platforms, images and promotional videos can also be publicized, helping customers gain understanding of the products available in the store even before stepping into the store. This help increase their likelihood of purchasing the products. Furthermore, internet marketing can enable businesses to personalise offers to customers by building a profile of their purchase history and preferences. In addition, the internet help businesses build relationships with their customers by offering personalised messages. Therefore, internet marketing is something imperative in smart retail.

Secondly, there should be iBeacons incorporated. iBeacons are small technological devices that can be attached to any product, anytime. When customers come in close proximity with them, they broadcast tiny radio signals, which a user’s smartphone can receive and interpret. For example if you were selling the new Samsung Note 8  on one of your shelves, you could stick an iBeacon underneath, and, when a customer comes nearby, a notification will be automatically sent to that person’s smartphone. If clicked, the user will be directed right to your online store where the product specifications, pictures and pricing can all be displayed.

Thirdly, smartphones should also be incorporated in the retail process. For the iBeacons to work, then the smart retailer needs at least one if not a suite of smart apps that consumers can download onto their smartphones. When customers walk into these stores, the beacons immediately deliver a push notification with a personalized greeting and an exclusive offer. Through these efforts, open rates and conversion rates of shops can increase.

Lastly, retails have a smart POS, allowing consumers to pay for their goods faster. This can help decrease the chances of long queues, helping consumers save valuable time and increase business efficiency.

Living in an technological edge which digital devices have crept to every aspects of our lives, it is important that businesses harness the effects of it to remain competitive. While the concept of Smart Retail is rather new, there is a need for retailers to adopt the structural change quickly.

Categories: Business Articles