Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Struggling retailers seek silver bullet in Amazon era
New York (AFP) Feb 10, 2017

Want a coffee while you shop? A glass of wine? Those are just few of the gimmicks being rolled out by retailers as they fight to boost store traffic -- and ensure their survival in the Amazon era.

Stores are testing artificial intelligence programs to guide shoppers through their aisles, and swipe-right, swipe-left games, that borrow from dating apps to offer them personalized pickings.

Others have added coffee shops, restaurants and even alcohol in an attempt to drag consumers away from their laptops and back in the dressing room.

"It has to be a better experience" and not just "a simple warehouse of goods," said Chris Donnelly, managing director at Accenture Strategy, a business consultancy.

"There's got to be more of an emotional, experiential connection."

The new tech and add-on perks look set to become even more critical following another bad holiday shopping season that has sharpened focus on the oversized US retail footprint.

Experts predict some brick-and-mortar stores will survive the period of reckoning, but there will be fewer of them, and the survivors will be more customer-friendly.

A recent Accenture report predicted the next decade will be "the golden age of the consumer," offering a "growing array of products and services, often personalized to their specific needs and wants."

But with that comes disruption and Accenture warned of a painful shakeout ahead as old-fashioned malls close and jobs are lost.

- Experimentation -

Retailers are showing signs of the strain.

Last week, Ralph Lauren Corporation announced the surprise departure of chief executive Stefan Larsson due to disagreements with the company founder. Tiffany's chief executive resigned this week.

Macy's last month announced plans to close 100 stores and eliminate some 10,000 jobs and reportedly has approached rival Hudson's Bay over a potential merger.

Those woes have sparked a greater willingness to try new things.

"There's just a lot of experimentation going on," said Steve Laughlin, IBM's general manager for global consumer industries. "I would argue not nearly enough."

Industry insiders are bullish on greater use of hand-held tablets so employees can call up a client's purchase history or parry questions from well-informed customers about pricing and product information.

Retailers also are turning to data analytics, and IBM is working with them to make use of big data from smartphones on customer patterns, for example to see if shoppers are visiting the shoe department but not buying anything.

Chains like Target and Macy's have even hired their own engineers to review data.

But the new technologies come with risks. Nordstrom in 2013 said it was pulling the plug on a smartphone tracking program after some customers raised privacy concerns.

Retailers also are divided on how to make use of ubiquitous mobile apps. Some view them as valuable tools -- notably for sending promotions or coupons to customers in or near their stores.

But others say mobile apps can detract from the in-store experience.

"When they come to the store, you don't want them to interact with the app," said Ronny Max, a retail industry consultant who specializes in behavior analytics.

"The whole point of them coming to the store is so they can interact with the store."

- Interactive dressing room -

One new feature generating interest is the interactive dressing room, unveiled at Ralph Lauren's 5th Avenue flagship store in New York and a handful of other stores.

The technology, developed at Oak Labs, a company started in 2015 by former eBay employees and others, gives customers an electronic link to staff while they are trying on clothes.

Customers can request different sizes and colors without having to get dressed again and go back into the store.

"You've shown a lot of intent if you've picked up an item and gotten undressed," said Michael Franklin, co-founder and chief business officer at Oak Labs.

The system also can translate between different languages, suggest complementary items and process transactions.

Oak Labs declined to provide pricing details, but claims the technology boosted average purchases by 55 percent in the handful of places it has been tried.

Fans of the technology say it also can play a role in managing inventory and addressing problem items, such as a jacket that is repeatedly tried and set aside because of poor fit.

But analysts doubt that such deluxe dressing rooms can be a silver bullet for the sector: high costs mean there is little chance of them being rolled out widely in the United States anytime soon.

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Global Trade News

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
British PM, eyeing post-Brexit, to visit China this year
London (AFP) Feb 7, 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May will visit China later this year, with talks likely to include closer trade ties for when Britain leaves the European Union, her Downing Street office said Tuesday. "The invitation was extended at the G20" meeting in Hangzhou in September, when May met Chinese President Xi Jinping, a spokesman said. Chinese state councillor Yang Jiechi visited London in Decembe ... read more

Republican ex-top diplomats propose a carbon tax

Climate change may overload US electrical grid: study

Action is needed to make stagnant CO2 emissions fall

Nordic countries are bringing about an energy transition worth copying

New, long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep

Building a better microbial fuel cell - using paper

Toward all-solid lithium batteries

Researchers flip script for Li-Ion electrolytes to simulate better batteries

British grid drawing power from new offshore wind farm

Prysmian UK to supply land cable connections for East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm

Russia's nuclear giant pushes into wind energy

The power of wind energy and how to use it

EU to phase out China solar panel duties

NREL research pinpoints promise of polycrystalline perovskites

Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity

NRDC: States should lead low-carbon economy

Explosion at French nuclear plant, 'no radiation risk'

Iran imports 149 tonnes of uranium from Russia: atomic chief

Three new uranium minerals from Utah

France's Areva picks up Japanese investors

A better way to farm algae

DuPont Industrial Biosciences to develop new high-efficiency biogas enzyme method

Cathay Pacific to cut emissions with switch to biofuel

Populus dataset holds promise for biofuels, materials, metabolites

Iran on Total's radar for future growth

First sale of U.S. strategic oil scheduled

BHP Billiton sinks $2.2 billion in Gulf of Mexico

U.S. exploration and production activity rising

Shifting monsoon altered early cultures in China

The ancient Indus civilization's adaptation to climate change

EU ahead of the curve on climate fight

Land-use change possibly produces more carbon dioxide than assumed so far

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement