As technology advances and retail grows more competitive, the shopping experience is changing.
1. Shipping options
Anticipating a 15 percent increase in online orders this year, several retailers have updated shipping standards for the season, including Target’s free two-day shipping on any orders regardless of price. Target is among many retailers picking up advance shipping services, a deal made famous when Amazon began offering it for Prime members.
2. Virtual reality for shopping
Kettering-based Marxent has developed virtual reality to help Macy’s customers visualize furniture within their homes. Beck Besecker, founder and CEO of Marxent, said a growing number of apps are also allowing shoppers to visualize products without ever having to step out the door.
3. Virtual reality for training
Virtual reality is also being used to teach store workers how to handle crowds during the holiday. The technology, used at 198 Walmart training academies, including in West Chester Township, has helped Walmart develop new strategies to make holiday shopping more efficient.
4. Amazon Alexa devices
Amazon’s voice technology gives consumers the ability to purchase their items by simply asking an Alexa-enabled device to purchase an item, and Amazon will take care of the rest.
5. Mobile payment
Consumers who choose to brave the crowds at stores this holiday season can also expect a quicker trip, with new mobile checkout technology debuting in both Walmart and Target.
The mobile payment options are expected to keep customers from waiting in long checkout lines, with Walmart’s Check Out With Me and Target’s Skip-the-Line giving shoppers a chance to check out with store employees strategically placed in the busiest parts of stores throughout the holiday season.
“One of the things that we’ve seen over the course of the past few years is that customers are really wanting to get in and get out pretty quickly,” said Tim Mahan, the western Ohio e-commerce manager.
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