At this point, I think most stores understand what precautions consumers expect in-store to feel safe and are starting to respond to these expectations. They are integrating no-contact protocols including mobile payments and self-checkout, social distancing, curbside pickup, masks and mapping store traffic. And of this is great and necessary. But in my view, the next frontier of retail is going to be owned by those retailers and brands who not only meet the bare minimum, but embrace this new world by integrating a bit of “cool” into the modern in-store shopping experience. And next-gen technology, once again, will be at the core.
We are already seeing some of these trends taking shape, particularly within stores that had started phasing in next gen tech into their formats prior to the pandemic. However, the challenge now is how best to pivot to expand usage or even find new ways to utilize this technology. Here are four technologies that are finding new life and purpose in the new world of retail.