From AdAge by Meredith Derby Berg:
1. ‘Social proof’-enabled tech
Brick-and-motor retailers are making the equivalent of online reviews available in-store, said Jason Goldberg, VP-commerce strategy at digital-marketing agency Razorfish. SnapTag, which Mr. Goldberg described as a new, more aesthetically appealing take on 2DBarcodes developed by SpyderLink, lets consumers use mobile phones to take a picture or scan a specially designed tag to receive information, coupons and more. Kiehl’s, for example, is using SnapTag on its mobile app. Illustrations by Athletics
2. Personalized information
Accenture Technology Labs offers an enhanced tab based on its technology codenamed WeShop for retailers’ mobile shopping apps. From their phones or tablets, users can get information about a specific product tailored to them based on their social-media data. For example, Brent Blum, digital-experiences R&D manager at Accenture Technology Labs, said a person shopping for a TV who has shown interest in technology would receive a more complicated description about a particular TV than someone who has shown interest in history and nature.
3. Virtual try-on
The app StyleWhile allows users to choose a model that looks like them or get a personalized model to “try on” looks, including apparel, footwear and accessories. It also offers advice from style bloggers and the ability to buy items directly from the app. The app has so far partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue, Alexander Wang and My-Wardrobe.com, with more retailers expected in 2014.
4. Body scanning
This would be a tough one to do from home: Brands such as Athleta, Betsey Johnson, Seven For All Mankind, and Banana Republic have partnered with Me-Ality to help consumers find their best-fitting styles. After a quick body scan, shoppers receive a custom shopping list of clothing suitable to their measurements. Over 1 million people have used this complimentary service, according to Me-Ality. The body scanners are available at five Bloomingdale’s locations. Illustrations by Athletics
5. PIN and chip
Say goodbye to traditional magnetic-stripe credit cards, as PIN and chip technology, widely used in Europe already, begins to take hold in the U.S. via EMV “smart chip” technology. (EMV is a joint effort between Europay, MasterCard and Visa.) The NRF recently recommended the usage of this technology, which has a chip in the card and uses an encryptable personal-identification number, making the card “essentially useless” to thieves, said the NRF.
6. Bluetooth low-energy beacons
A technology called iBeacon from Apple lets iPhone 5 and iOS 7 devices to communicate with retailers, telling them where shoppers are in a store, allowing them to push personalized coupons and deliver other information directly to phone. “Almost every retailer we work with is in flight with some sort of pilot,” said Mr. Goldberg. “Retailers like American Eagle Outfitters and Macy’s are using the technology in certain stores, partnering with the retail app Shopkick. Qualcomm uses a similar technology via its Gimbal platform.
7. Digital wallets
There are several options in this evolving space — Square, Coin, Google Wallet and other hands-free payment technologies store debit- or credit-card numbers and redeem coupons via mobile phones. Some can actually harness location-tracking technology. These options essentially do away with the traditional cash wrap at a physical store as store associates complete sales via tablets.