Technology has become an indispensable part of today’s modern retail environment and if used right, allows brands and retailers to ease or augment a shopper’s path to purchase. But to stay competitive, it seems that many stores are introducing tech with the objective of staying up to date, rather than for the benefits of their shoppers.
KPMG summarizes the allure of new retail opportunities: “The new retail world that we have been promised is here. The tools, strategies and technologies required to be successful in this new world are available. The toolbox for success is here, and it’s up to retailers to choose the right tools from the toolbox in order to grow their business.” When Walgreens introduced digital cooler doors that display and target ads based on facial recognition technology earlier this year, they sure dug deep into what is possible. But does it enable shoppers to a more seamless journey, rather than add to the visual noise while shopping?
The same applies to digital shelves, as just introduced by Kroger, displaying price, nutrition, video ads and encouraging shoppers to scan codes to access vouchers and offers. Great technology but does it address a an unmet need of the shopper?
A recent survey shows that shoppers are wary of technology without a clear perceived benefit for them. 58% of UK shoppers think that “emotion detection technology that adapts your shopping experience depending on your mood “is creepy”. The numbers are similar for facial recognition services that recognize preferences and targeted mobile ads based on proximity to stores.