The days of driving to multiple stores, searching cluttered shelves, and paying with cash are over. Retail technology is changing the way we shop and purchase items by integrating AI, blockchain, and cryptocurrency into the consumer experience. Retailers are adopting scan-and-go, facial recognition, and just walk out payment technology to secure their place in the future of retail.
According to a recent Farfetch study, 70 percent of shoppers research their purchases online and almost 90 percent of those shoppers come into the stores to complete their transactions. The survey also found that about 80 percent of shoppers are willing to share data with a company they trust. Farfetch has implemented a frictionless payment process through smartphone scan-and-go technology that allows customers to scan as they shop and pay directly from their phones.
“I’m not going to lie [advanced payment processing is] complicated. This is our biggest pain point,” said Sandrine Deveaux, managing director of store of the future at Farfetch. “This is not only the biggest pain point of Farfetch, but of retail.”
According to Tom Gehani, director of client strategy and research at L2, retailers are no longer just relying on geofencing and beacons, but turning to frictionless payment processing efforts like scan-and-go or just walk out technology.
“A lot of conversation has been [about how] this will be a cost saving because of fewer cashiers,” Gehani said. “Retailers that will win are going to take labor savings and put that to other store labor, like ensuring security, [that the] shelves are full at all given times and helping customers on the floor.”
Amazon Go, a check-out free store, uses computer vision and sensors in its “Just Walk Out” technology. When items are removed or returned to the shelves, this is automatically detected and your virtual cart is updated. Customers can simply walk out of the store when they are done shopping. Charges are billed directly to their Amazon accounts for a seamless experience.
“Since opening, we’ve been thrilled to hear many customers refer to their shopping experience as ‘magical,’” Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, wrote in his annual letter to shareholders. “What makes the magic possible is a custom-built combination of computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, which come together to create Just Walk Out shopping.”
The future of retail technology, specifically payment processing, is automated. Soon stores won’t require check-out lanes or even physical customer payment. Fintech like AI, facial recognition, and blockchain will be combined to create a fluid payment and shopping experience for all customers.