Retailers tend to lag behind when it comes to digital transformation initiatives. This article will summarize some examples (about 10 units) and their innovations in 2017-2019 in the use of technology such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and AR (Augmented Reality).

*Collected from many articles on ZDNet and Altexsoft

Challenges of retailers in digital transformation

The rise of online shopping has forced the retail industry into a slump, with more than 11,000 stores estimated to close in 2018 – up from 9,000 in 2017, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report.
“Today, retailers are forced to get creative,” says Forrester expert Brendan Witcher. “The challenge is, where is the line between being a good retailer and being a good innovator? Too many companies take their eyes off the basics of what they need to focus on innovating.” Almost all retail companies now have a digital strategy. The remaining challenges for transformation are in soft factors such as: Culture, organization and lack of skills. “Implementing the technology is pretty easy compared to things like the challenge of managing the transformation, which often needs to happen when a brick-and-mortar retailer becomes a digital-driven one.”
There’s no shortage of companies investing in technology to attract and retain customers, said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter and author of the Top Trends in Retail Innovation report. However, for many people, “innovation” really means “iteration,” says Solis, which means that instead of doing new things that create new value, they do the same things but more efficiently. . According to Solis, “Investing in mobile phones, the cloud, or things like augmented reality or new payment systems all improve the customer experience, but retailers are really struggling in this regard. Understanding tomorrow’s customers from now on. The biggest innovations in this area are when companies really try to understand: What do we not know?”

Retail also tends to lag behind other industries when it comes to digital initiatives because projects must be run efficiently before rolling out to the whole company, according to Ananda Chakravarty, experts at Forrester. Retail is so dependent on margins, there’s only a certain amount of money for things like R&D and creativity in general. They also know they are competing with companies like Amazon with billions of dollars in budgets dedicated solely to innovation, research and development. This should not be overlooked but more importantly how much can we invest without reducing the level for daily operation?
Despite the challenges, some retailers have embraced change and made progress in digital projects that harness technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and augmented reality. Internet of Things (IoT) to completely transform their business and acquire new customers. Below are the leading digital transformation companies in retail according to ZDNet and Altexsoft.

1. Sephora

Sephora uses AR and AI to bring a vivid experience to customers. Source: internet

While other cosmetic companies rely heavily on department store sales, Sephora offers customers a number of technology options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup most of the time. like using a Virtual Artist on augmented reality (AR), matching their skin tone with foundation with artificial intelligence (AI) and trying out scents via a touch screen and the air smells good.
After uploading photos via Facebook Messenger, a smart chatbot will help you visualize different makeup looks and products, offer personalized recommendations and some items you might want to buy. Another similar tool acts as an augmented reality mirror that simulates that makeup on the user’s face in real time.
Sephora’s effective digital strategy relies on being customer-centric and mastering the in-store and digital shopping experiences. The first digitized-enabled store opened in October 2015 in Paris, offering all the perks of online shopping, along with hands-on trials, like product sampling, viewing tutorials, and consultations. Attend beauty seminars. Using personal NFC tags, customers can add physical products to their digital cart while in store and add more products online later. The items in the cart will be processed as a general order.

2. Lowe

Lowe uses AR, VR, and 3D applications to help customers visualize space more effectively. Source: internet

Lowe’s home improvement chain began using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) testing in its stores with the launch of Holoroom 3D in 2014, allowing customers to design rooms on computer and then tour it in VR. The company then launched the Lowe’s Vision app and the View in Your Space feature, which uses AR to help customers visualize what the store’s products will be. look like placed in their own home. The In-Store Navigation app helps customers navigate the products they need in the store.
All of these apps aim to solve a common customer problem: How do you know if an object or design is right for your living space? This makes a lot of sense for a company that designs in the do-it-yourself space and tries in other types of spaces.

3. Home Depot

Home Depot is very successful with omnichannel retail. Source: internet

Home Depot is quite successful in omnichannel retail. They successfully facilitate online sales growth through their existing brick-and-mortar stores.
Following Home Depot’s approach, customers can buy products online and choose to have them shipped to their home or to a local store for pickup. Online shopping and optional in-store delivery allows customers to receive products the next day or within 2 hours. They can also purchase products online and return them to the store.
Like Lowe’s, Home Depot also introduces directions or directions in its app to help customers easily navigate store aisles and find what they’re looking for.

4. Walmart

Bossa Nova robot helps with inventory scanning and reporting. Source: internet

In addition to innovative strategies and initiatives, in some Walmart stores, Bossa Nova robots roam around the store, scanning shelves and alerting managers of inventory status in real time. Providing quick information on how products are selling in stores and across locations can help retailers build predictive models of inventory and keep prices competitive. These are powerful tools that are being used for things like inventory management and can be done automatically without the involvement of salespeople or operations inside the store, allowing They spend more time interacting and supporting customers.

5. Lolli and Pops

Lolli and Pops . Store

Candy and gift retailer Lolli and Pops may be on a smaller scale than the big boys on this list, but they also have a very interesting digital project. The company launched Mobica, a loyalty program through facial recognition powered by Intel. Customers who opt in to the program can walk into the store and the camera will recognize their face and send that information to an app on the salesperson’s tablet. With that data, employees can access profiles of tastes, allergies, and other information, thereby making personalized product recommendations through AI-enhanced analytics.

6. Kroger

Kroger and the Clicklist service

Grocery chain Kroger uses in-store analytics to personalize the shopping experience for customers. The company is now using predictive behavioral modeling to personalize promotions and tailored pricing for Plus card members, resulting in a growing digital customer base. Since Q1 2017, growth in mobile visits has outstripped overall digital growth. Kroger also recently launched a ClickList service, which allows customers to order groceries online and receive them in-store.

7. Fabletics

Fabletics digital fitting room app

Fabletics connects the online experience to stores through an omnicart “digital fitting room” app to help identify new customers and create a more personalized experience for them. This tool allows store employees to scan products shoppers are trying on in the in-store fitting room on an iPad. If the shopper is a Fabletics member and has an email address on file, the clothes will automatically be placed in their online shopping cart.
After the buyer tries on the item and responds to the fitting room staff on the iPad. If they choose “dislike” or complete an in-store purchase, the item will be removed from the online shopping cart. Otherwise, the item will still be there if they want to buy it later.
According to the company president, customers who shop with Fabletics through multiple channels like these are 3.2 times more profitable for the company than those who shop on only one channel.

8. Macy’s

Macy’s RFID App 

In 2016, Macy’s began rolling out an RFID initiative to track every item across its stores and delivery hubs. When the company first expanded RFID into fashion, sales jumped more than 200%, by some estimates – which isn’t surprising, since inventory accuracy can help increase visibility. availability of the item, resulting in increased sales. This is a very useful tool, reducing shrinkage and waste in stores, along with improving the ability for employees to track certain products and inventory.

9. Best Buy

Best Buy deploys RCS

Best Buy, in collaboration with partner 3C Interactive, is exploiting an increasingly popular communication protocol called Rich Communication Services (RCS) that can enhance basic text messages with product images, maps, and more. in-store pickup and purchase details. This creates a more seamless interaction between in-store and online communication. This is an attempt at finding different ways of connecting with customers through mobile devices.

10. Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus implements Memory Mirrors

Department store Neiman Marcus set up an innovation lab in Dallas, TX, in 2012 to test new technologies. The company has rolled out Memory Mirrors in some stores – giant video screens and cameras that allow shoppers to see outfits 360 degrees and compare outfit options side by side like color. color, style…
Neiman Marcus also launched Snap Find Shop visual search feature in its app, allowing customers to take a photo of a shoe, bag or clothing item and find a similar style in the product line store products through AI analysis. These and similar projects seek solutions to customer problems and make the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable.


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