Retailers should create “hyper-connected” shopping environments through the use of technologies like near-field communication (NFC) to boost sales and understanding of their customers, the chief executive of Samsung Electro Mechanics has said.
Speaking to the World Retail Congress in Paris, Chi-Joon Choi promoted the use of “inch shopping”, which involves consumers using the NFC technology available on their smartphones to scan electronic shelf labels that can be placed in stores.
This technology, he said, would lead to better links between offline and online shopping, as it enables shoppers to download product information, coupons, advice and to create online wishlists on their mobile phones while out shopping.
For retailers, he said the benefits include not only increased sales by making the shopping experience more efficient and interactive for shoppers, but the technology can also provide more in-depth information on customer behaviour than the data already secured from online shopping, including shopping frequency, products interested in and their thoughts on those products.
Choi said better digital connections between retailers and their customers - through technologies like NFC - could lead to more consumption and therefore more jobs in the retail industry, creating “a virtuous circle of productivity”.
In this way, digital technologies can be seen as the “new growth engine” for retail, he said, as they can help customers to feel like they have a more active participation in the management of a store or retail business, which boosts their engagement with that company.
But he warned retailers not to assume synergy and better connection with customers would automatically create positive results, as online channels need to be designed to complement, not compete, with physical stores.