It's no secret that technology is shaping the future of retail. At every point in the buyer journey, brands are experimenting with ways to create better customer experiences.
Top e-commerce executives are talking about how they're exploring new technologies and how they envision digital disruption playing a part in their strategies going forward:
“The fashion industry is ripe for disruption," according to Gap, so the company is attempting to solve a very common online shopping problem: visualizing what apparel looks like in real life. With the help of its dressing room app, people use avatars to see how garments will look once they arrive.
The disruption in retail is happening in part because the technology landscape is evolving, partly because customers are evolving, and partly because the industry has not done an incredible job in making it easy for customers to engage with it.
— Gil Krakowsky, VP of Global Strategy, Business Development, & Consumer Insights
Technology innovation is a core value at Neiman Marcus—so much so that the company created an iLab, also known as its innovation lab, where experiments in magic mirrors and mobile wallets come to life. The brand is betting on its app's "Snap, Find, Shop" feature:
As [photo recognition] tech continues to improve, we expect further experiments. You could take a pic of a whole outfit and it would tell you about the pants or top or shoes you’re wearing, as the guys that do this get better at it.
— Scott Emmons, Head of the Innovation Lab
In the future, home improvement shoppers can get assistance from artificially intelligent LoweBots. Lowe's tested store-mapping robots that will not only be able to help its customers but also help the company understand in-store shoppers' behavior.
AI is going to be like electricity or the internet—it's going to be foundational technology [for] which most things are built.
— Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs
Smart objects are finally moving past watches and other activity tracking, and L'Oréal is leading the way. Its smart brush helps its users understand their "hair analytics" and recommends products to keep hair healthy based on the data.
We’re at an inflection point for connected beauty and fashion, and examining what connectivity will do to enhance consumer experiences. More and more, we’re able to give consumers realistic seamless experiences around trying products digitally without having to buy them to try them first.
— Guive Balooch, Global VP of Research and Innovation Technology Incubator
Betting big on augmented reality, Farfetch is trying to create what it calls the "Store of the Future." The company believes that stores are essential to great customer experiences, but technology needs to be implemented to connect customers online and in store.
Ultimately the use of data to transform stores will separate those who make it to the next step and those who won’t.
—Jose Neves, Founder & CEO
Ultimately, retailers are using advanced technology to solve customer pain points. In a webinar featuring Forrester, we discussed where retailers are investing in their digital strategies and how they're connecting new initiatives with existing investments.