What Does the Future Hold for Retail Customer Experience?


Retail stores have to create a customer experience within their retail stores. Without the positive experience, customers simply walk away and look for it elsewhere or they shop online for the same products. If customers don’t like a store there is no reason or drive for them to stay anymore, there are too many alternatives and options that are available, often at our fingertips. As a result brand new experiences have been trailed in stores but not all of them are a success. Here’s a quick look at the new trails that are designed to enhance customer experience in retail stores.

3D Body Scanning

3D body scanning has its benefits for the customer as it creates an accurate body scan that is stored on record. The scan can then be used for shoppers to ensure they get the right fit, when shopping in store and online, reducing the need to return products and benefiting from personalised recommendations.

Bodymetrics have developed this new technology, using techniques that you may have already experienced with the Microsoft Kinnect. The technology is currently being trialled in London Selfridges and selected Bloomingdales stores, but it is unclear as to whether this technology will take off. On the negative side, customers will need to update the body scan as the body does change size, so stores will need to work out how to update and join up offline and online data and no one knows if the customer will actually want to make use of this service.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality can be used in stores when products are not present or tangible. One of the industries that could dramatically benefit from the use of in store virtual reality is travel. Customers can have a VR experience in store, allowing them to explore destinations and resorts before they commit and buy. One company that has trialled this technology is Thomas Cook, allowing them to learn how virtual reality can be used to augment traditional sales using the Oculus Rift in the Bluewater concept store.

Indoor Tracking

Tracking customers as they move around the store is an option that is being considered. The aim is to monetise the ad space, analysing the paths that customers take so they’re able to learn more about behaviour personas and using it to the benefit of the store.  WalkBase and Samsung joined forces to use technology that picks up on the WiFi signals from Smartphones belonging to the customers. The data shows when the customers enter the shop, what they spend time doing and looking at and how long they stay. Retailers are then able to adapt and change the signage pricing strategy. It is not yet changing the advertising in real-time but this is an option that is possible with advanced automation systems.

Time will tell how successful these current trials will become and if customers and businesses will adopt and make use of technology to enhance customer experiences.