The benefit of all this technology and the services that go along with it, is to make our retail operations work better for staff and customers. We can see how stores won’t be so cookie cutter and defined simply by their transactional data. We may even be seeing the advent of customers’ personal preferences defining how retailers and brands localize their stores, merchandise assortment and associated services.
IBM used the notion of bringing web-like digital merchandising techniques such as in-depth product information, reviews and suggestive selling as examples of personalization. For anyone who has run a store department or bought a high-consideration item like a refrigerator or a good suit, you know these are the things any good retail sales person delivers on a daily basis. The potential to arm solid sales staff with robust, refined information is enormous.
Volumental is an intriguing example of personalization technology that has the potential for consumers to own their data and get the best possible products and services for their particular needs. In their own words:
“The Volumental solution is a hardware and software bundle that helps you digitize the fitting process with your customers and at the same time create valuable data for merchandising, product development, and marketing. Your customer steps on the scanner, and in a few seconds a tablet displays 3D models of both their feet, including the key measurements for a good shoe fit recommendation. This makes the fitting process more efficient and enjoyable.”
And, in discussing the benefits with representatives at the NRF Innovation Lab, the data that comes from more accurate sizing has fit and style implications for consumers and the potential to influence manufacturing and distribution.
Imagine having your (and your growing childrens’) precise measurements on-hand and ordering precise sizes, fulfilled by just-in-time manufacturing. This could lead to increased satisfaction, reduction of returns and waste and increased efficiency all along the supply chain.
Chuck Palmer is a retail strategist working at the convergence of consumer behavior, technology and innovation. He has worked with JPMorgan Chase, Airstream, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel and Nintendo, and The Home Depot among others. Chuck is a regular presenter at retail events and contributor to industry publications. Find him at @cxchuck and www.ConsumerXretail.com.