With the launch of Amazon Go grocery stores this week, store managers and small business owners across the country are rightfully worried about the technology giant disrupting main street retail.
Amazon’s cashless, paperless, and no-checkout stores apply machine learning and mass surveillance to offer a customer experience that few competitors can match. Small business owners should consider adopting new technologies to meet the growing demand for a seamless and better shopping experience.
Here are some of the ways you can apply affordable technologies to enhance your store:
Smart alarms, motion sensors, and cloud-enabled surveillance cameras can help you monitor the store remotely and keep your staff and customers safe. The rise of burglaries, shoplifting, and employee theft makes security technology a necessity rather than a luxury.
Removing frictions in the shopping experience is the best way to enhance the experience of being in your store. According to the British Retail Consortium, contactless payments are surging across Britain. Soon, all of your customers will expect to pay with a click, wave, or tap of their smartphones. Going cashless is your best bet to stay ahead of the competition and meet the inevitable demand.
Offer click and collect
Partnering with a big retailer or launching your own e-commerce platform is relatively straightforward. Click-and-collect is the epitome of omnichannel retailing, which is clearly the future of the industry. Experts expect this to drive traffic and sales to brick-and-mortar stores in the next decade.
Augment the store experience
Smaller retailers can still gain a competitive advantage by leveraging technology to showcase their products. A virtual trail mirror or augmented reality app could help customers see your products from a fresh perspective. Applying this technology doesn’t have to be expensive. A virtual mirror could cost a few thousand dollars and creating a 3D experience for smartphones isn’t as expensive as it used to be.
Be energy efficient
Another clever way to enhance the shopping experience and cut costs is to use energy efficient lights and smart devices. LED lights, sensors, and smart thermostats could save your business thousands of dollars over the course of a year. McKinsey reported that nearly 10% of retail operating costs are for utilities. By closely studying the stores energy consumption pattern and retrofitting the property with smart energy technologies, businesses can potentially cut this cost by half.
Being efficient and cost-effective is a good way to stay ahead of the competition. By investing in the right technologies you can make your store safer, more profitable, and more appealing to customers.