08 Feb the robots are coming…
So now that the dust has settled after Christmas and CES, what exciting things can we look forward to seeing on our local high streets this year.
Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) platforms are tipped to be the standout technologies of 2017, thanks to high-profile successes by the likes of Sony and Google alongside apps like Pokèmon Go at the end of last year.
According to tech company DigitalBridge, more than a third of consumers have walked away from making a retail purchase in the past 12 months because they couldn’t imagine what the products would look like in their own home.
We have already seen some great examples of VR in the automotive industry from Lexus and Volvo; and retail brands such as Ikea and North Face are using the technology to create more immersive experiences in their stores. With the launch of HTC’s game-changing wireless ‘Vive’ VR headset at Januarys CES show, we can expect to see much more of this technology being adopted in 2017.
Speaking of CES, aside from the usual array of thinner/bigger/faster TVs to the frankly bizarre ‘smart underpants’ (they claim to protect your manhood from the harmful effects of cellphone radiation), Amazons Alexa was definitely one of the stars of this years show. 2017 may well be the year you switch from tapping and typing on touchscreens to simply yelling commands across your living room. There were dozens of Alexa-enabled devices at CES, most notably from Ford, Whirlpool and LG as well as our favourite smartphone brand Huawei also announcing their splendid Mate 9 device was getting Alexa integration. Many of us here at hps towers are already getting in on the Alexa action with Amazons rather cool Echo device. Khal has even managed to program his as a digital co-pilot in a spaceship game!
Robots in retail? Pepper is a four-foot-tall humanoid robot capable of recognizing and responding to human emotions. Retailers and other business who welcome Pepper into their physical locations can leverage its interactions with consumers to capture real-time data including the number of sessions, duration of engagement and customer demographics. According to Steve Carlin of Softbank who are behind Pepper, “[Pepper is] going to allow store personnel to function on higher-order, more meaningful interactions with their shoppers, as well as store operations, because the lower-level, more repetitive things can be addressed with this technology.” Sounds interesting, but don’t expect to run in to one in your local John Lewis any time soon.
With most retailers posting pretty positive results over the ‘golden quarter’, consumer confidence still remains bullish amid all the uncertainty of Brexit, a weaker pound and rising inflation. While it remains to be seen how the rest of the year will play out, there will certainly be no shortage of cool tech to tempt us to part with our cash, as well as lots of opportunities for retailers to up their game and really embrace some of the new technologies that can enhance the customer experience.
We’ll be exploring some more of these trends, as well as sharing new strategies for how retailers and brands can succeed in 2017 in our forthcoming Masterclass ‘Using intelligence to win the retail war’.
You can find out more information on the agenda and sign up by clicking here.
Retail7 have over 23 years’ experience of recruiting, training and managing the best tactical promoter and field sales teams to create in-store theatre, build customer relationships and drive incremental sales.
Contact Andy Boothroyd today firstname.lastname@example.org to see how they can help your brand be more successful in retail.