Welcome to Digital Luxembourg’s " What The Tech?!" series! As the tech landscape gets vaster and more advanced by the second, most sectors are turning towards tech solutions to provide 21st century services. Stay in the know this summer as we break it down for you tech-by-tech, and show you the Luxembourg innovators making technology happen.

This Week: RetailTech

“Hi, Alexa. Search Amazon for the cheapest, wide-screen TV for delivery tomorrow before 9am. Send a lavender-scented candle to grandma for her birthday. Oh, and play “I Feel Good” by James Brown.”

If you and Alexa are not yet acquainted, you soon will be. In-home voice assistants are steadily becoming part and parcel of the 21st century shopping experience and an innovation every retailer should keep on their radar.

This is just the start of retailtech, which includes online shopping and the incorporation of technology in both households and brick-and-mortar stores.

With just a few clicks or taps between browsing and delivery, online shopping is the ultimate in convenience, speed…and immediate gratification.

It means retailers have to dig a bit deeper into the lives (and closets) of their target customers. The spotlight is on personalization. And we mean really personal.  

So, what technologies are retailers using to better understand their customers and continue attracting them into physical stores?

Analytics (of customer traffic, for instance) are essential. Once the target is in sight, it is time for omnichannel commerce and virtual storytelling.

Through Bluetooth, strategically placed in-store beacons can collect useful data: from how long a customer spends browsing to which items they pick up. Based on this information, personalized discounts and recommendations are offered, keeping shoppers in the store for longer.

With brands vying for “store time,” they are calling upon the powers of AI (cashierless stores without checkout lines), VR (enhanced store layout) and IoT (GPS-enabled shopping carts that guide customers to the items on their list).
 
The more gimmicky and gadgety the better. And if it saves time and money in the process…

Behind the scenes, cloud computing is easing the headache of inventory tracking and collating shipping information.

Questions have inevitably arisen around the sustainability of online shopping and its effect on our planet.

On the “it’s-ok” side of the double-edged sword, it implies decreased emissions thanks to fewer trips to the store and items delivered directly to the customer. Moreover, brick-and-mortar stores use up a lot of precious resources (energy and paper, for example).

The “it’s-not-ok” edge points at traffic congestion due to an increase in delivery trucks and The Big One: packaging.

What remains clear is that, without technology, retailers will find it increasingly difficult to keep tabs on and adapt to the whos, wheres, whats, whys, ins, outs, ups and downs of consumer habits.

These innovative startups have set the retailtech ball rolling here in Luxembourg:

Uny

Uny is a virtual shopping assistant that simplifies the shopping experience for consumers, helps small retailers to digitize their business and large retailers to attract customers into their stores.

Pingvalue

The Pingvalue app gives individual users the scoop on where to eat, shop and explore based on their unique tastes. Simultaneously, its business users can connect with their audiences directly and launch targeted campaigns based on advanced analytics.

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