5 Big Tech Innovations to Impact Retail This Year

Retailers are trying every new technology to gain advantages over the competition in the slim margins of the retail sales world. Amazon, who is no stranger to innovation, is leading the way in 2016 with exciting new ways to get products to consumers faster and with lower shipping costs. In fact, Amazon recently announced the use of drones to make some deliveries, which will further improve delivery times.

No matter what your role in the real estate industry, keep an eye on these big tech innovations, which are likely to impact retail this year:

RFID Tags

An RFID tag is a radio-frequency tag that allows retailers to instantly know their inventory levels of products without going to physically count them on the shelf. The retailers can know how many of an item are in stock and where they are currently located in the store.

Beacons

Beacons communicate directly with shoppers through apps on their phone that points them to specific sale items, as well as new or featured items in the store. The app can also provide a detailed location on where an item is located in a store, as well as special deals, and keep track of loyalty rewards.

Improved Delivery Times

Everyone seems to be working to improve delivery times, and to make the overall delivery process more cost-effective for the retailer. Amazon is now offering same day delivery to many of its Prime customers, as well as 1-hour deliveries in certain metro areas.

Visual Product Search

This is a system that allows the consumer to load an image into a visual recognition system that will direct the shopper to the location of the item in the store. If the app can't find an exact match of the item, it will direct the shopper to the closest similar item the retailer may carry in stock. Consumers can take photos from catalogs, magazines or even snapshots to try to find the perfect item in the store's catalog with smart technology.

Mirrors that Adjust to You

Many high-end retailers are now featuring “magic” mirrors that allow the shopper to select different lighting, colors or other attributes to customize the shopping experience in the dressing room. Some of the mirrors even keep track of the different items tried on by the shopper and help them replay the experience to make the best choices.

Expect retailers to roll out some new tricks and some new technology in 2017 to try and attract consumers into the brick and mortar stores that have been struggling as more shoppers choose to purchase items online. These struggling retailers are trying a lot of new technology that will attract tech-savvy consumers who are using their smartphone and apps to make more informed shopping decisions.

Some of these changes are here to stay, and will soon be adopted by other retailers who don't want to be left behind. Other new technologies will be tried out for a while, but never adopted on a wide scale because of the high costs involved to develop the technology and make it user-friendly for the consumer.