As a shopper, most people like to make informed decisions about the products, going online to do research and understand just what attributes and features appeal to them the most so that they will buy the right product. If you flip that around, what you may notice is that the stores that you shop at frequently have the same type of question about you the shopper. You can find everything out about a product before you buy it. They, on the other hand, must guess about what types of products most of their customers would like to buy and stock those. When they get it wrong, you either leave or wait for them to order a different type of product for you.

Today, companies that provide retail solutions are actually starting to ask the question, ‘Why can’t stores get advanced data on their customers so that they can stock the right products in the first place?’ Part of the problem in the past with doing that was that there wasn’t technology available that would allow you to gather information without bothering the customer. Since that technology has now been created, a number of providers have now brought out systems that can increase the utilization percentage of your existing retail inventory.

Here are some examples of some retail innovations that are going on in the industry:

Big Data Psychology:

There is a famous study from decades ago that proved that when a store played French music in the wine aisle, people would buy French wine. When they played German music, they would start buying German wine. Modern retail consultants have added big data results about customers derived from those customers directly to enhance retail results like this. Because retail store owners can now create every color of the palette with LED lights and use both sound and visual to create any mood that they want to in their stores to drive sales.

The nicest thing about this psychology approach is that new programs based upon data that has been gathered can be tracked by purchases, by buying behavior, and by actual customer reaction near displays that are selling products under study. That allows the store owner and product manager of the manufacturer to almost instantly understand if any changes need to be made to how they are presenting their retail environment to the customer.

Super POS products:

Another way that retailers can learn about what their clients want is to create interactive displays that allow them to get data about a customer’s desires as they view products. One of the more recent attempts to do this involved taking a common computer tablet and putting it on a sliding bar that allows people to move the tablet around a display area and stop in front of different featured products. The process is like going through an art museum. As the customer approaches a certain item, the product area geo-triggers the loading of supporting information on the tablet. The customer can then browse through that data instantly without having to ask any questions of the sales staff.

In the restaurant world, companies like Maya Botticelli have already made it a practice to give the customers a tablet experience at their table and at the ordering counter that allows them to fully control their experience via a menu. Instead of full-time waiters and waitresses, they therefore end up with more control over their dining experience.

Cameras that provide feedback:

After California retailers found out that their radar scheme that was being used in stores to track customer behavior was actually illegal, there was a brief amount of time where there was a pause in systems to track customer behavior being adopted. Now, there are new systems that are based on cameras that allow stores to understand what customers intend because of the camera angle and psychological studies on intent.

The cameras function a lot like some advanced luxury cars like Jaguars- when you want to change the radio station in a new Jaguar on certain models, the car learns what you are likely to want and does it for you as you start to reach toward the console or look like that is what you will do. A little more advanced than gesture-style control, it makes it possible for stores to see and respond to what you the customer wants without being to invasive in terms of the physical environment that is created around you. The net result is an experience that is more likely to generate a shelf of goods that are arranged the way you want and contain the features that you want.

Retail consultants are now able to create environments for their clients that allow stores to leverage data and feedback from customers in ways that wasn’t possible in the past. The new solutions continue to lead to better product display and implementation strategies, saving stores and manufacturers time and money.


by: Vincent Stokes