Technology is so intermixed with our day-to-day lives that physical stores have been transformed by innovations that help to make the shopping experience more satisfying. Technology has also helped to open up new marketing opportunities for small and big businesses alike as well as to provide huge savings to both the customer and business. Here’s an overview of three different technologies that essentially revolutionized the way we shop both on and offline.

Smartphone

Statistics indicate that more than 100 million Americans utilize their smartphones for their online shopping pursuits. Studies also indicate that as many as 4 out of 5 smartphone users conduct extensive research into the services and products that are available online before they commit to a purchase. In general, smartphones have essentially become the default device that marketers focus on when it comes to creating a beautiful website that features products and services. As a result of this, every competent business owner who owns a website has made the extra effort to ensure that it has been optimized for mobile devices.

Unfortunately however, the rise of smartphones has lead to more and more people purchasing products online more so than offline. This in itself has led to explosive growth amongst online retailers such as Amazon, with a trade off of leading to the decline if sales amongst offline retailers such as Sears. This in itself has pushed offline retailers to offer faster shipping, more competitive prices, better services and the implementation of online catalogs as an attempt to compete with online retailers.

Virtual Reality

More and more offline brick-and-mortar stores are starting to incorporate virtual reality systems into their stores to provide a more interactive experience for their shoppers. For instance, some Lowe’s location gives customers the opportunity to view 3D renderings of a potential bathroom renovation, before they commit to a purchase. Virtual Reality showrooms essentially help to increase customer satisfaction, because it gives the customer the opportunity to be certain that they do in fact want to make a particular purchase beforehand. As opposed to being resentful about the purchase after the fact.

It’s also worth noting that the development of virtual changing rooms has made the process of trying out clothes a much faster and smoother process. This not only helps the customer, but the business as well. This is due to the fact that while customers are able to benefit from not having to physically spend minutes or hours trying out a dozen different outfits, the companies benefit in the sense that the more clothes their customers are able to try out, the more likely that they will spend even more than they would if they had to physical change into every single set of clothing items that they had an interest in.

Retail Apps

The development of retail apps have also helped to revolutionize the way we shop. Many retailers have implemented sophisticated apps they provide customers with features that go beyond looking for new products. For instance, now customers can check the inventory of a physical store from within a retail app. So if an individual wants a particular size dress that is not available at the nearest store to them, they can check another nearby location to see if they have their particular size. Retail apps have also changed the way people pay for products and services as well. Companies like Starbucks and Subway, allow customers to preload money into their accounts via retail app, as to which they can use to make purchases in the store. With the advent of credit card fraud, this in essence can give consumers peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to bring their wallet with them to their favorite store and can elect to purchase via retail app, instead. Some retail apps even feature a cash back reward system that utilized the mcc code of the merchant, to provide cash back for legitimate purchases.