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  • 10 May

Top Technology Takeaways: RBTE 2017

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Thanks to everyone that came by our stand at RBTE. We had a busy few days, making new contacts, catching up with old ones, and exploring new opportunities. We’ll be following up with you all over the next few days, but if you have any further queries in the meantime, please feel free to contact the team at marketing@retail-assist.co.uk

Away from the stand, we took some time to visit the various RBTE Conference Theatres, to find out more about latest technology developments, challenges, and innovations affecting the retail and hospitality sectors. Here’s a quick round-up of our findings.

RFID

We noticed a real change in pace surrounding RFID (radio frequency identification) development at this year’s Expo. Attending a panel on “RFID in Real Life” really set the bar for this technology: 20 of the top 30 UK retailers are currently using RFID within their supply chain strategy. The panel included John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and River Island.

Instead of focussing RFID on the customer experience, the discussion focus shifted inwardly, to the ways in which RFID is benefiting retail operations:

The RFID examples discussed offer solutions to the back-end issues faced by omnichannel retailers:

  • Increasing operational efficiency: RFID, sewn into garments, or applied via hard tagging, removes the need for store associates to painstakingly barcode scan every item in a stock-take. Instead of a lengthy, inaccurate process, retailers can use one centrally-located RFID reader to obtain a complete view of their inventory. Stocktaking can therefore occur more regularly, as a reliable and efficient process. Thanks to faster stock takes, less staff are stuck in the stock rooms, and more are available to sell, increasing customer service levels too.
  • Improving stock accuracy: definitely the buzzword on the panel. As said by River Island’s representative, “don’t go into peak season guessing, and know what your exact stock position is”. 
  • Increasing profitability. Of course, this is the Holy Grail for every retailer, and stock accuracy is making this happen. By understanding where stock is held in real time and how well it’s selling, better decisions can be made to sell more stock at full price and reduce discounting. 

RFID also offers opportunities to improve the refund process in retail, especially for those without a receipt, by holding unique product information – a great real life example shared by Marks & Spencer.  

Payment at your fingertips

From mobile, to contactless, and now – fingerprint?

touch to pay

Biometrics are the latest development in the payments sphere, as revealed by Visa at their seminar on Day 2 on Retail Futurology. Half of consumers that were surveyed would use fingerprint tech to pay for items, and 81% see fingerprint as the most secure biometrics identification method, over iris scanning and facial recognition. Visa is now using this technology as part of its Visa Checkout product.

We’ve already seen this technology take off with smartphones, and in-app purchasing. Further traction in the physical world must take place through partnerships between the payment provider and the retailer.

3D immersion

And now, something a bit more fun. 3D experiences without the need for a headset are at the moment a conceptual idea, brought to RBTE by Aska Japan. Here’s a quick video of their solution in action:

 

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