Krystal Temple

‘Tis the Season: Reflections on the Holiday Shopping Experience

This year, I’m on a mission to get my holiday shopping done early, and I don’t think I’m the only one. In fact, on Black Friday, consumers spent more than $1 billion, up 26 percent from 2011. And on Cyber Monday, shoppers spent nearly $2 billion online, representing a 17 percent increase from 2011 largely attributed to shoppers using tablets and smartphones. I’ve been tackling my shopping list both in-store and online, and a recent trip to the mall left me wishing for more high-tech retail solutions that could give busy shoppers a convenient and efficient consumer experience.
 
Let’s start at the beginning. Before I headed to the mall, I purchased an item online that I planned to pick up in-store. However, when I got to the store, the item was out-of-stock. According to a survey conducted by the IHL Group, this is a huge problem. In fact, approximately $818 billion is lost annually around the world because of inventory challenges, and 56 percent of that accounts for out-of-stock items (the other 44 percent accounts for overstock). Some stores are integrating technology solutions to tackle this problem, such as RFID technology that allows retailers to locate misplaced inventory and shelf-scanning technology that avoids empty shelves.
 
My next observation came while I was picking out a gift for a cousin who’s in her teenage years. I like to think that I’m in the loop and know what’s hip these days, but I have to admit that I needed a little help to guide me in the right direction. Luckily, 91 percent of consumers today share their opinions online. While in the mall on my smartphone, I browsed reviews on various sites, including the retailer’s social media pages, until I found the perfect gift. Along with 70 percent of America, I trusted the recommendations of complete strangers to help me make the right purchasing decision.
 

Macy's Beauty Spot Offers Shoppers Concierge Service

These are just two examples that I observed on this recent shopping trip. Luckily, I know that Intel is working with leading retailers to bring next-generation technology into stores to offer consumers a more intelligent, enjoyable shopping experience. For example, Intel has collaborated with Kraft Foods on a number of intelligent vending solutions that use technology to remotely manage the kiosks and autonomously refresh out-of-stock content. In addition, the Macy’s Beauty Spot, powered by Intel, is an interactive kiosk that allows in-store shoppers to view feedback and product reviews from other consumers before making a purchase.

I’m looking forward to seeing more innovative technologies in stores as I go on future holiday shopping trips. How would you like to see retailers use technology to make your next shopping experience better?

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