If you want to know anything about in-store digital propositions, then Craig Smith is the man to ask. He made his name at Marks & Spencer, where he was the driving force behind the delivery of the in-store digital pilots, taking them from concept all the way through to full production rollout.
With his unique blend of strategy, architecture and delivery experience, Craig is known as one of the UK’s leading experts on in-store digital. He recently joined Jeremy Clutton, our Strategic Account Director, to speak at an International Retail event organised by Magentys in London.
There’s no doubt Craig has retail in his DNA. His grandfather set up Evans Cycles, one of the UK’s best-known cycle retailers.
We’re delighted that Craig has shared with us his views on what’s going to be big in 2015 when it comes to retail technology. He predicts that wearable tech and flexible payment options will enhance the in-store experience…
The smart watch will be doing more than telling the time
For what was supposed to be a declining market, watch sales have remained pretty robust at least by value if not volume. However the watch seems to be a new battlefield for the big phone companies and I see a raft of innovation within them.
Specifically, I see the mobile wallet moving itself from the handbag or pocket on to the wrist with the potential of establishing itself as another credible payment instrument which is always on you.
Google Glass in-store retail applications will become part of the retailers’ arsenal
Continuing the theme, Google Glasses just haven’t been able to remain out of the press, rivalling even delivery drones in regard to discussion and hubris.
However, crucially, applications for the glasses are starting to emerge in industries like medicine and hospitality.
Retail will soon follow suit with applications like “pick, pack & despatch” and personalised concierge services in luxury retailers. While it may be niche to begin with, this converging of technology brings amazing opportunities for the omnichannel vision, not just multi device but in store and any time.
Beacon technology will take shopper targeting to a new level of sophistication
Leading on from this, beacon technology (low-powered, low-cost hardware that transmits messages directly to smartphones or tablets) will start to become more prevalent. Retailers will begin to engage customers with location-based, personalised, targeted promotions when in store.
We have already seen Regent Street introduce the technology and you have to assume that where they lead, other prime shopping real estate will follow. So we won’t just be targeted in-store but when travelling between our retail meccas.
The next two are around the shopping experience and making payment easier, especially at peak shopping times or when customers are in a hurry. The shopping experience is one of the key points of difference over an ecommerce immersion so dealing with the pain of queuing to pay could have some real benefits.
Trials of scan, pay and go using a mobile device will start
The phone will increase its versatility: it will allow items to be scanned as customers shop and then paid for on their mobile before exiting the store. I think this concept will start to be trialled in some stores. It’s a step beyond self serve and there may be some issues with security initially, but it offers so much convenience that these challenges will be overcome.
Payment on shop floor will move from trial to full scale rollout
Retailers will overcome the hurdles of taking payment on portable devices such as iPads, as hardware and solution providers start to harden their mobile payment solutions and turn those proof-of-concept ideas into fully fledged rollouts.
*Picture credits: vadik4444 / Shutterstock.com