Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 12/28/2012 | 126 comments

Susan Nunziata
What kind of cool technology did you encounter in retail stores this holiday shopping season?

2012's fourth quarter has been a time of tech experiments on the retail floor, as well as on consumer mobile devices. These twin trends are only likely to proliferate in the years ahead.

For example, our sister website, DigitalCanvasRetail, reports on a digital sales assistant in place at Nike stores. Here's how it works, according to DigitalCanvasRetail:

    Each time a shopper retrieves an RFID-tagged product from the store's display wall, an Impinj reader linked to software designed by InMotion Technology detects the item's movement and triggers a video display that presents marketing and technical information on the selected item.

Duane Reade stores are looking to do Nike one better. According to a blog by retail technology consultant Tim Dickey, the stores plan to deploy projected virtual assistants who will greet customers. The technology could ultimately be enhanced to create a virtual personal shopper who can respond to our requests via voice communication tools such as Siri.

From Business Insider we get a look at 12 technologies that are transforming retail around the world. RFID is a big one on this list too, with JC Penney reportedly planning to use RFID tags to eliminate checkout stations by the end of 2013.

Tablets and touchscreens are also playing a major role in the effort to eliminate checkout stations. Retail shops of all sizes -- from the local clothing boutique to Apple's flagship stores -- are using touchscreen devices to ring up sales using credit card readers.

Touchscreens are being used in other ways to enhance the shopping experience. For example, toy chain Build-a-Bear is experimenting in select stores with touchscreen technology that kids can use to create ultra-personalized plush toys, according to DigitalCanvasRetail.

UK-based retailer Tesco is offering a giant touchscreen catalog in stores that enables visitors to browse the company's inventory of more than 11,000 products, according to Business Insider.

Mobile payment options are also on the rise. In fact, research firm Gartner predicts that by 2015, one third of consumer brands will integrate payment into their branded mobile apps. Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, says in a prepared statement:

    Branded apps should be good shopping apps in the first place, and payment is only the final step before making the sale. To achieve this, they will use a combination of mobile apps, text messages and Web browsers to engage customers and increase sales. In developed markets, apps will lead the way, whereas in emerging markets text messages are likely to dominate initially.

Brands with retail outlets, such as those in the fashion, food and drink, grocery, and entertainment sectors, are likely to be among the first to embrace these solutions, according to Gartner's report "Predicts 2013: Businesses Will Take Consumer Apps to the Next Level."

All of these solutions are going to change our personal experiences with retail. They're also going to change the demands on the IT organization in the process. As Dickey reports:

From a retailer perspective, there are new sources to consider. eBook readers can tell us how long it takes people to read a book. It can tell us if they finished it or not. It goes way deeper, allowing for a new level of understanding of clients. New channels mean more data and more complexity.

It will be important that all of these new channels take into account how data will be gathered and analyzed. If you build a mobile app and only 400 people use it, that may sound like a loser if you have thousands of stores. However, those may be your most important customers that lead the rest of your customer base. Without the data to understand who they are, retailers could mistakenly discontinue their most important customers’ favorite channel.

What manner of new technologies did you encounter in retail stores during your holiday shopping excursions? How would you like to see your in-store shopping experience enhanced by technology? How prepared is your IT organization for the influx of data from these new shopping technologies? Share your comments below.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 13   >   >>
KeithGrinsted   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   7/3/2013 6:29:58 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@mdmconsult unfortunately though legacy systems can hold a business back. If there is no longer any support then that too can be a problem. Quite often though it is the potential opportunity cost of putting up with a legacy system v implementing something new.
MDMConsult   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   7/3/2013 9:12:27 AM
Re: still in its infancy
@KeithGrinsted Agreed, legacy systems absolutely have a place in the enterprise. The right system can save costs. A multi-phase approach can offer quicker ROIs.
KeithGrinsted   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   7/1/2013 3:30:47 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@susan here's the link to Alton Towers check out the new ride called Smiler!! 14 loops!!
KeithGrinsted   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/30/2013 6:30:20 PM
Re: I'm just along for the ride
Well, here in UK it is hard to go anywhere without encountering Costa coffee shop. They are on the high street, inside supermarkets, filling stations, everywhere.
Susan Nunziata   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/30/2013 5:52:53 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@Keith: that still sounds like fun. A day of riding roller coasters -- isn't that really just like another day at the office? :D
KeithGrinsted   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/28/2013 3:00:48 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@mdmconsult problem here is that while I agree the need to embrace the technology, the market we find ourselves in makes it very difficult to invest in this much needed technology. It is a game of survival out there and the business I work for is investing heavily for the future but in the replacement of legacy systems to make the business better organised.
KeithGrinsted   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/28/2013 2:53:50 PM
Re: still in its infancy
Unfortunately it will be a while yet before we can afford another trip like that one! It was very memorable though and we often talk about it. Best we can do this year is a trip to Alton Towers which is biggest roller coaster park in UK. We go there for two days of thrills!!
Susan Nunziata   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/2/2013 4:56:53 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@MDMConsult: Bingo! What's interesting is that consumers adapted quickly to expected this kind of "interconnected" experience where they want to move easily between the physical and online/mobile retail spaces. 

Retall has a big game of "catch-up" to play before it fully realizes the potential of meeting this consumer expectation. 
MDMConsult   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   6/1/2013 8:50:20 AM
Re: still in its infancy
Interconnected Technologies. The increase in consumer demands today create opportunities based on the ways consumers are interacting to interconnected technologies. Visual retail is the next big step in the evolution of digital signage. High-impact advertising has evolved to cross-channel combination of visual, social, and interactive experiences. Organizations have to meet rapid consumer demands and constantly innovate in technology.
Susan Nunziata   Retail Tech Reshapes Shopping Experience   5/31/2013 9:26:33 PM
Re: still in its infancy
@Ketih: That's a great deal, and case in point you had to fight to get it. Glad you were able to enjoy your time, though. It's a wonderful place. next time you go, be sure to try out the MagicBand that Dave Wagner wrote about in his blog Disney Leads the Way on Customer Experience Again. Let us know how you liked it! 
Page 1 / 13   >   >>

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata   5/28/2014   111 comments
For more than four years, (E2) has been the best IT community on the Internet. As with all good things, soon our time together here will end.
Susan Nunziata   5/20/2014   95 comments
Is it time to ask for a raise? If you're a female IT executive, or more than 55 years old, your answer might well be a resounding "Yes!" Let's take a look at highlights of the ...
Susan Nunziata   4/14/2014   15 comments
If you're looking for more than conjecture to back up the point that IT is increasingly crucial to the business, you'll find what you need in the report "The Gartner CEO and Senior ...
Susan Nunziata   4/7/2014   3 comments
Do you know what your CEO really wants from your IT team? Do you have a grasp of what matters most to your organization's chief marketing officer?
Susan Nunziata   4/1/2014   9 comments
There are plenty of challenges involved in leading an IT organization in the era of Bring Your Own Everything (BYOE), but there are also plenty of opportunities.
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.