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How Global Trends are Shaping the Retail Technology of the Future

How Global Trends are Shaping the Retail Technology of the Future
January 05, 2018

The yellow flowers stuck on cow's nostrils seem to have fallen off the bushy trees on both sides of the roads. The lake water that makes me shrink my eyes as it glitters by reflecting the bright sunlight beam with unpolluted rays coming all the way from heaven to bloom an energetic day besides all the colorful flowers around. People walking around with cheerful faces greeting each other as though they have enough time in their wallets. Oh My God! I Just realized that it is a lucid dream. No worries! As a techie, let me continue my dream and see how I can achieve these requirements! 

Upon a deep thought, we can perceive the fact that people are hesitant in accepting technology as it is. As a layman, I would prefer a technology that advances me without hampering my naturalism.  The term "advancement" strictly implies to technologies that could make wonders in achieving a green globe such as availability, accessibility easiness, cheaper cost, timeliness, virtual reality, IOT, Big Data, and AI.

If it is WE who opt for the change, then it should be WE who cause the change.

In retail industry, customers spend a lot of time in offline shopping due to distance, crowd, difficulty in choosing the products, payment delay, and carrying away the things home. Due to these factors, the online markets boomed up. However, those too have their own demerits such as non-returnable products, inability to feel the sense of touch in case of fabrics/plastics, delay in delivery, and more.

Manufacturing

Let us consider the retail business of eatables/fabrics right from their manufacturing minutes. Incorporation of technology in agriculture is the much awaited advancement that will help removing discrepancies in people’s social statuses. On tweaking Sahithi Pingali's Water Health Map, the app that determines the health of water bodies, we can identify farmlands quite easily. What if a world of Farmville becomes a reality? Why don't we think of Artificial Intelligence in farming when we can implement the same in Chauffeur-free Automobiles? Why can’t we use a Nanobot to assess fertility of the land and seeds, check the fertilizers, notify the electricity supplies, and auto-pump water to the fields? A smart flowerpot, Parrot Pot is one such miniature that proves the feasibility of such thoughts. Approaching the direct retailers is the mammoth hurdle that a farmer faces due to which the middlemen comes into play. If retailers could locate the farmlands via FarmMap, contacting and dealing with farmers would have been easier. However, it is important to ensure that only registered retailers are given access to completely stop the middlemen from encroaching.

Retail/Purchase

Virtual reality allows virtual touch of products, also known as ‘Haptic Photography’, where consumers can feel/sense the touch without handling product physically. A 3D Live-Virtual Monitor, probably a phone, lets us navigate to the right rack (like a 3D game) in the store, allowing us to choose an item from the lot. A Voice-Text converter would take a note of all our wish-list items and based on it, the rack navigation would function. On a smart touch, it would be zoomed up to show the carton and all such products can be quickly added to cart, giving us a real-time shopping experience. This would really reduce the crowd on road which commutes for shopping purposes. This in turn reduces the automobiles on road and in turn lowers traffic, pollution, and other related issues.

Payment

This requires an Ultra-Smart Card which would incorporate IoT. This card is linked to mapped to an individual via fingerprint/iris (can be linked to Aadhar if it is India) and each card has its own unique number linked to all bank accounts of the person. Also, the card wallet can be loaded whenever required. This has the following options for transactions.

  1. It owns a scanner which can read other card numbers
  2. It owns a keypad to type the card Number and enter the amount.
  3. It has two fingerprint sensor zones: one for the sender and the other for the receiver.

The sender's fingerprint is for validation before transaction to avoid intruders and the receiver's fingerprint is for transacting the amount directly to the card holder in case the card number has been forgotten. In this case also the owner's fingerprint is required for validation of the transaction.

Once the shopping is completed by the customer, checking out option would be enabled, upon which the unique card number of the retailer would be displayed. The customer can scan/enter the number in his own ultra-smart card and then the cart amount. On placing the fingerprint, the transaction gets authenticated.

Delivery

The product delivery can be via robotic drones wherein Amazon stands as a pioneer. This makes the delivery easier and faster compared to the existing delivery method of multiple shipment/courier process.

Need for change-over

As per the saying- "Necessity is the mother of invention", the world is becoming smarter every day. To get ourselves accelerated in the tech race, almost all streams including retail sector is adopting to smarter ways of gaining customers. When given an option between buying a toy in a shop which is 10 miles away and in a website which is at 5 clicks away, people will certainly opt for the latter which saves their time, commuting charges, and other efforts. The additional merits of lessening commute have already been conveyed in the first few paragraphs. Conventional business can sustain even without retail technology. However, growth is significant for any business to be successful in market. As competition is key for progress, business should certainly look for better ways of attracting consumers and that becomes easier with the help of advanced technologies. It is evident research and development across various technologies are based on retail business requirements which are in turn based on consumer needs. Thanks to Homo sapiens for their desire to save time, which is the reason behind many ‘Eurekas’!

I just stopped dreaming after imagining the first few lines once again and I realize I can make it happen! Get, set, and go!!!