Always ones to use our own technology to enhance what we do, you might have seen recent news announcements regarding the Hitachi CO-URIBA store being opened. The retail landscape is changing rapidly. We here at HLDS are at the forefront of this change. Of course, there are many reasons to open a store such as this. For us, showcasing the technology that makes it happen is important, as well as the store being a testing ground for new innovations as we develop them.
For a retailer, using a store like the one we use with CO-URIBA can bring a whole host of benefits, as we will explore during this article. Let’s take a look at how HLDS’s technology can help retailers to move into the next generation with digital support.
Why adopt an unmanned store?
There are a few good reasons why unmanned stores are becoming more and more popular. For the retailer, there is a simple fact that retail staff is harder to come by. Labor shortages are commonplace, meaning that retailers have to pay higher wages to attract good people. The recruitment process takes time, and enhanced pay and conditions put pressure on the fine margins retailers make. Labor costs are often the highest expenditure in a service business such as retail.
One of the biggest challenges for retailers has been the threat from online competitors. The likes of Amazon seem to have taken over the known world in terms of retail sales. Their biggest selling point is convenience. Order and pay in a few clicks and get the goods delivered directly to your home or workplace the next day. You can see Amazon’s move towards a more seamless checkout in action, too, as the rise of the ‘pay with one click’ button makes it onto every page of their website.
Physical retailers have some work to do in order to compete with this. We will look at how unmanned stores help physical retailers compete on convenience via the use of technology later in this blog.
The benefits of adopting this tech
We have looked at some of the major challenges facing physical retail stores in the current trading environment – protection of stock, the cost and availability of staff, and competition from online retailers.
The right technology can address all three of these issues.
HLDS’s CO-URIBA store is the perfect example of this in action. Stock is managed and protected by the use of LiDAR sensors and weight monitors on shelves, tracking the movement of people and items across the store. It automatically charges a customer’s account when they leave with their desired items. No checkout – no worry.
And this deals with the issue of convenience too. Customers don’t have to stand in line, waiting for the staff member to finish dealing with the customer or customers in front. They walk out, knowing that their purchases will be calculated and they will be billed accordingly.
And in terms of staffing, none are needed until it is time to replenish the store. This means a minimal outlay on labor, cost savings, and an actual increase in customer satisfaction because of the shortened wait times.
Customers are registered in advance with their facial recognition details and credit card. This means that the store can operate in an orderly manner, allowing customers to get their products with minimum fuss. This is the future of physical retail.
Because of the nature of this technology, it doesn’t stop people from walking in and out of a store. Loyalty cards and coupons have become mainstays of the retail landscape over the past few decades. Now, these offers can be personalized to a greater degree because we know who it is walking into the store. Cross-reference this against other data such as spending habits, time of day, or even time of year, and you could offer a personalized discount at breakfast time for a customer who walks into the store early but doesn’t buy breakfast from there. Converting a customer to becoming a regular breakfast buyer is one step to driving loyalty. It is said that it is far easier to sell more to your existing customers than to go out there and look for new customers. This tech allows you to do just that.
And you don’t just have to use your digital signage and facial recognition systems to market your own products. Associated products that are keenly targeted to specific customers or customer groups can bring in additional revenue streams. How many related companies (but not those in direct competition) would like to talk to your customers?
Success with digital transformation
All of these measures drive success. When your customers love your store for its convenience, then you’re already onto a winner. Add in the fact that expenditure is reduced and theft lowered, and you can see why unmanned stores are so much more than a gimmick. They can be the viable future of physical retail, allowing people a similar level of convenience to their current online shopping experience.
If you want to explore your own digital transformation in retail, then we’re here to help. Please get in touch, and we’ll help you to see if going unmanned (or any of our other solutions) works for you.