The traditional store model could take on a whole new look soon as retailers try out new technologies.
Fierce price competition is leading some retailers to find ways to attract shoppers without having to advertise a big sale.
A software program adopted by one retailer allows sales clerk to make a sales transaction or check inventory anywhere in the store on mobile devices like cellphones or tablets.
Company officials say the program allows sales associates to better engage customers and make transactions quicker.
Another large retailer is testing 40-inch touch-screen kiosks in the cosmetics department at four stores. The screens will feature a variety of brands and engage customers with information on top-selling products, reviews, tutorials and more.
The kiosks are geared toward younger customers. The balancing act the retailers must walk is attracting young shoppers without disenfranchising other customers.
If the kiosks are too complicated, they’ll sit there unused and serve as a turnoff to the older, less tech savvy clientele.
A spokesperson for the company acknowledged that this new concept likely will take more than one trip for customers to warm up to, according to an article in Apparel News.
But even the best technology can’t replace knowledgeable salespeople that shoppers still rely on to help them decide if the clothing is flattering or not.
“[T]here always will be a need for sales associates,” said Chitra S. Dabas, an assistant professor of apparel merchandising and management at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.
Source: Apparel News, February 2012