10 retail innovations that are changing how stores operate

It’s no secret that bricks-and-mortar stores are locked in battle with online retailers for the hearts and minds of consumers worldwide.  In order to bring consumers back through their doors, physical retailers have had to think outside of the box and rethink their approaches to convenience, marketing and providing a personalized experience.


Here are 10 recent innovations physical retailers should be aware of.


Cameras don’t just spy on would-be shoplifters anymore. Recently, high-profile clothing chains have begun utilizing mannequins with pinhole cameras capable of capturing valuable consumer data. One such camera, Italian mannequin maker Almax’s EyeSee, utilizes face-recognition software that can identify a shopper’s age, gender and race. One clothing store was reportedly able to determine that children made up 50% of its afternoon visitors and adjust its merchandise accordingly. In-store video advertising monitors have also become a hiding place for these cameras, some of which can even measure responses to various stimuli.


Video monitors in stores can also utilize radio frequency identification merchandise tags to target you with advertising based on the items you’re carrying around. Former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson announced in July 2012 his intention to have the department store become the first to use RFID tags on all merchandise. An Accenture survey in January of that year reported that half of U.S. retailers were using the tags—which were adopted by Wal-Mart’s distribution centers as early as 2004—and that most retailers would implement them in five years if the adoption rate remained steady.


Customer loyalty apps like Shopkick are among tools being utilized by physical retailers to reestablish a personalized shopping experience with consumers. Shopkick, for example, gives shoppers points for entering a store and delivers information to them as they browse. Additionally, loyalty programs—like privately held supermarket chain Raley’s Family of Fine Stores’ “Something Extra”—reward customers with exclusive access to new products when they share opinions and recommendations for other products.


There are a number of ways in-store displays are being utilized to enhance physical stores. A good interactive window display—like the one at a LEGO Store in Chicago using a Kinect to turn people in front of it into a video game character—can turn passersby into customers. They can be used to turn entire store walls into information hubs where anything a customer wants to know about a product is available, including items that are available but not currently in stock. Furthermore, they can be used to create kiosks like Macy’s Beauty Spot where shoppers can receive virtual cosmetics recommendations based on their skin tones, and other displays that allow a customer to get a “virtual” test of how an item or accessory would look on them.


view interactive LEGO clip on YouTube


Earlier this year, Wal-Mart announced its intention to develop a “next-generation fulfillment network,” streamlining its global e-commerce platform in several countries and piloting a same-day delivery service. The company is also reportedly considering a “crowdsourced” delivery plan that may figure into this same-day model. Under that plan, customers would deliver packages to online buyers—a process that may likely face legal, regulatory and privacy challenges before/if it becomes a reality. In any event, 25 of the retail giant’s stores already deliver online orders directly via FedEx and its own trucks.


Mobile POS isn’t exactly new—it’s been around in Apple stores for several years now—but it’s starting to catch on with a larger number of retailers. Further demonstrating the appeal of completing transactions from anywhere in a store, Unicomer Group signed a deal with Starmount in March bringing the technology to its 10 store brands across Central America, the Caribbean, Ecuador and the U.S. The technology doesn’t just improve customer convenience, though, as it better prepares associates with detailed product information at their fingertips. Additionally, this is another area where RFID tagging becomes advantageous, given the number of mobile POS solutions that utilize the tags and can even allow customers to pay using RFID units in their smartphones.


At least one app is expanding on the convenience of mobile POS by trying to eliminate the unloading and reloading of shopping carts. Swift Shopper, a free app by ezCommerce Solutions that can be upgraded for $1.99, reads every barcode in every store. The idea is that customers scan items as they go and then the cashier scans the codes directly from the phone at checkout, saving everyone time. Retailers don’t even have to invest in new hardware because shoppers are using their own phones.


“Showrooming,” the act of a customer checking out a product in a physical location before finding a lower price online, has become something of an obstacle for brick-and-mortar retailers. Thanks to the mobile wallet space and the launch of location-based marketing services like Apple Passbook and Google Wallet, however, retailers now have a little more leverage. Passbook gives users “Passes” and alerts them when they’re near a location where they can use them, while Google Wallet will let users save things like loyalty cards, offers, tickets and boarding passes in their virtual wallet. Some stores, like Target, have also taken a low-tech approach and launched plans to price-match online competition.


Located in Seattle’s University District and founded by a former Amazon executive, men’s apparel store Hointer is operated mostly by robots. Capitalizing on the fact that most men see shopping as an inconvenience, the store has customers use their smartphones to scan QR codes on jeans they like, summoning a robot to send the specified size to a dressing room. This eliminates the need to dig through piles of clothing and also requires less floor space and fewer salespeople. The company plans to eventually expand into women’s and teen’s clothing, as well.


You didn’t think online retailers would sit back and let bricks-and-mortar have all the fun, did you? Some online retailers are going omnichannel with their own small retail locations. Online men’s retailer Bonobos has opened “Guideshops” in America, and German online fashion store Zalando has done the same in Berlin. Amazon is also offering lockers in some shopping malls where customers can pick up deliveries. This approach is mostly beneficial for return-prone products most consumers still prefer to experience in-store, like clothing or baby equipment, or for large products with high shipping costs. Still, it’s an interesting development to say the least.


June 7, 2013  By Roger Riddell 





  1. 魅力、あなたがしている 過度 プロブロガー| 本当に | つまりこれはあります。に|を求めて| とのために起きてあなたの参加を探して| |シークの検索で ポストのための狩り。 も、私の社会的ネットワークに私がした 共有しました
    [url=]店内全品ポイント10倍 30日間返品保証[/url]

  2. Regulations limits the interest of title loans 2014 but only the ones that possess a phrase
    of 6 months or less.

    Take a look at my web site buy a car with bad credit rochester ny (Ian)

  3. We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our
    community. Your website provided us with helpful info to work on. You’ve
    done a formidable task and our whole community will probably be thankful to you.

    My page solar powered phone charger reviews,

  4. plan is developed for little- to medium- sized businesses whose
    web sites consist of substantial dynamic content, such as numerous multimedia files.

    Feel free to visit my blog post … Jacelyn

  5. This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Feel free to visit my blog; 2015 supplement reviews

  6. InMotion Hosting permits a limitless quantity of Information Transfer per month on all our Company Class Webhosting

    Here is my web page; Mikel

  7. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually know what you’re speaking approximately!
    Bookmarked. Kindly additionally seek advice from my site =).
    We may have a link change agreement among us

    my blog post – nootrobrain nootropics (Celina)

  8. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic blog!

    Feel free to surf to my page :: Pure Asian Garcinia Trial – Halley

  9. I got this site from my pal who shared with me regarding
    this site and now this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative articles or reviews here.

    My web page; nootrobrain nootropics (Moshe)

  10. Extremely nice post. I just discovered your weblog and wished
    to say that I have truly loved surfing around your blogs.

    In any case I’ll be signing up to your feed as well as I hope you write
    once more soon!

    my web-site; Borrowed Authority Method Bonus (

  11. Greate article. Keep writing such kind of info on your
    site. Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends.

    I am sure they will be benefited from this site.

    My blog ::; Annett,

  12. I do believe all the ideas you have presented for your article.
    They’re extremely convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are extremely quick for beginners.
    Many thanks for the post.

    my website Borrowed Authority Method Review – Victorina,

  13. It’s not my first time to pay a quick visit this web page,
    i am browsing this web page dailly and get good data from here daily.

    my web site solar powered fan for shed (Fannie)

  14. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through
    this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Here is my webpage: solar powered phone charger (Wendell)

  15. These shared servers are cost effective, but if
    you are fretted about performance and speed, you need to be taking a look at virtual or devoted servers.

    my web page … Marilynn

Comments are closed.