The Indian retail industry is beginning to use technology in subtle ways to enhance customersâ€™ shopping experience, by cutting down the time they spend in checkout queues and by helping them find things. And in the process, sales are rising.
Globally technology has already made headway into the retail sector. Wal-Mart for instance monitors weather forecasts to predict what their customers will want to buy around that time of the year. Then there are information kiosks that display maps to guide consumers on how to find any item, and tiny devices that record customersâ€™ buying preferences and makes helpful suggestions. For instance, someone who is buying an anti-dandruff shampoo might also want a similar type of conditioner
Shoppers walking into Hyper-city, a mall in Mumbai, are in for a slightly hi-tech experience. Theyâ€™ll see customers bustling about with tiny golf-ball-sized gadgets hooked on to their shopping carts. And this curious little gadget doesnâ€™t just sit there. Every time a shopper picks up an item, say bread, this tiny gizmo beeps, as if in agreement. Whatâ€™s most intriguing about this experience is that even during peak time, there are hardly any queues at the cash counter.
Surprised? Well donâ€™t be, because this might just be your first taste of the kind of shopping experience you can expect in the near future. This new shopping buddy at hyper-city is in fact a handheld scanner (I-Scan) that lets you generate your own bill as you go along picking items and adding them to your cart.
This cuts your shopping time by almost half, as all you have to do at the checkout counter is make the payment and leave. This device is already helping the retail outfit provide faster checkout as well as reduce staffing needs by a considerable amount.
This might seem extraordinary experiment now, but analysts say gadgets like these are set to become common place within the next couple of years, replacing todayâ€™s stationary cashier counters, dumb price tags and static paper signboards.
Some of the technological aspects already introduced in retail industry is listed below,
Shoppers at Hyper-city in Mumbai can use a handled scanner that lets them generate their own bill they add items to their cart. This cuts down on shopping time by almost half, as all you have to do at the checkout counter is make the payment and leave.
NXP semiconductors used tiny RFID (radio frequency identification) chips instead of tickets for over 1,000 dignitaries at the recent ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals at Jaipur. This tiny chip stored all the information that was required about the viewers, including their photos for identification. This helped in cut down on fraud, and in tracking viewers and monitoring the stadium.
Near field communications:
With this technology, your mobile devices will automatically communicate with smart devices in the vicinity and make transactions. For instance, you could pay with your mobile device.
Intactix space planning:
This system uses complex number-crunching algorithms to see how the shop-floor will look stacked up with merchandise.