We all heard about Amazon’s big move, who recently bought Whole Foods stores in the US and opened in less than a year the first cashier-free store in the world: Amazon Go. That shows us the direction Amazon is aiming at. A bold move that will attract other big retailers in revolutionising the supermarket concept as a whole and change the customer experience forever. We will see it for ourselves, as more openings like this will be announced around the world in the next months.

The concept that Amazon Go stands for is an employee-free grocery store, with no waiting lines and represents the first step to autonomous grocery shopping. The food department is not the only one being targeted by this new technology, as shopping malls and commercial galleries will be transformed by this automation trend, too. In a world where discussions about automation and robots are on the daily menu, we may believe that nearly anything can be automated, but in reality, these kind of solutions only work if they are transparent with the customers and if they really feel that these algorithms made their life better in some way.

The digital market is designing new products for a world that is fluent in using smartphones for cashless payments, communication, and entertainment. And we already live in that world. But we are somehow all biased and still designing platforms and advertising campaigns that look nice on a desktop, but the actual reality is different. Just think of the elders in your family whom you’ve helped with a brief tutorial on how to use their new smartphone. In this age of fast technological advancements, everything moves faster than we want to believe or accept.

If you work in Retail, be an early adopter or die trying

We assume no one has Bezos money to open an Amazon Go replica in his neighbourhood overnight.

But there is hope because there are other solutions that help retailers make savings that can be reinvested in new and innovative technologies or algorithms and prepare for the big move. A successful customer decision journey is only possible through an automated and intelligent orchestration of all channels and all screens. This is why you need to be looking at Location-Based Marketing platforms. These platforms provide mobile advertising automation driven by indoor location intelligence. The process includes multichannel mobile advertising, channel orchestration, content automation and instant content personalisation.

Using these platforms allows you to target audiences based on their shopping habits and location (at home, at work, nearby, in-store, on their way out). Another goal that these platforms can help you achieve is setting smarter marketing objectives to drive results like increasing brand awareness, drive in-store traffic, increase cross-shopping, increase visit duration, increase the frequency of visits, and generate sales leads. These platforms usually support numerous media formats for mobile advertising and let you apply smart targeting conditions that are driven by machine learning. Most of these platforms also offer a new way to increase profit for the retailer. That is possible through indoor marketing campaigns for their tenants, that can be bought directly from the retailer.

Know your customers better and they will pay you back in visits

Nowadays sensors and all kinds of technologies that used to be physically big can fit into our pocket. This creates all sorts of possibilities for retail business. By using smartphone sensors, we can create algorithms to track visitors inside a shopping mall. The current Wi-Fi and Bluetooth IoT infrastructure can be used to monitor up to 80% of the visitors entering your retail environment. The percentage differs from one geographical zone to another and depends on the area’s smartphone availability or popularity among the visitors of your retail location. A solution like this gives you access to unique shopper presence identification and monitoring, complete visitor flow analysis, frequency of visits, visit duration analysis, integration with third-party data, socio-demographics, and visitors value segmentation. The frequency of visits and visit duration can only be obtained through this type of analysis and it represents a step forward from classic footfall counting.

Other benefits you can get are conversion funnel analysis (from catchment area to in-store conversions) and retargeting capabilities integrated with both Facebook and Google advertising platforms. These solutions can help you cut back on expenses by improving your knowledge about your visitors, and set better campaigns, based on their propensity to visit and shopping habits.

Save time for the customers and you will win their loyalty

Smart apps and loyalty apps are easy solutions to create a direct, personal and always-on commercial channel to your customers. We are witnessing a never before seen development of the location-based premium mobile technology for in-store loyalty programs, shopper engagement, and mobile payments and includes loyalty mobile wallet, mobile payments wallet, indoor positioning and navigation, proximity marketing, news and events and much more.

360° customer interactions

To manage all that traffic, online and offline, consider a CRM (customer relationship management) solution that can help your business bridge the gap between your marketing investments and your offline sales, and let you understand who your customers are and how they interact with your brand in offline retail environments. The interface allows you see all the data into a single multi-functional dashboard, funnel performance real-time visualisation, 360° customer interactions and predictive sales algorithms.

In conclusion, the future of retail is in digital autonomous technologies and creating the best user experience in offline. Only benefits await if retailers go down this path, because they can cut back on expenses, have a better understanding of their visitors and create an interactive and enjoyable experience for them. We celebrate this moment because we are ready to offer solutions to retail investors and make their visitors’ experience much more pleasant. We designed innovative solutions not only for traffic monitoring using Wi-Fi tracking but also a location-based advertising solution, profiling algorithms, loyalty apps and custom platforms for our clients.

If you want to read more about this kind of technologies or if you are ready to take your retail business to a new level, feel free to check out our products and our key studies, that prove that digital and physical retailers go hand in hand, at http://www.footprintsforretail.com