Imagine stepping into a body scanning booth as you enter a mall to have your exact shape and size tabulated through 200,000 measurements in about 20 seconds. What’s the point, you ask?
Well, once the booth takes your measurements and you click off what you’re shopping for that day, it will show you which stores have what you want in stock and even recommend styles that best suit your body type. You can also use your print-out to shop at the stores online too, confident that what’s delivered to your home will be a perfect fit!
This type of new technology is the leading edge in ‘e-tailing’ today, with scanning booths showing up at mall entrances across the U.S., Europe and Australia. It’s not yet available in Canada but we're still playing an important role since the scanners were developed by a Nova Scotia company, Unique Solutions Design Ltd. The company holds the exclusive license for the only body scanning technology to measure the body while fully clothed.
These scanners are just one cool example of how tech is revolutionizing retail and making life simpler for shoppers. In fact, the retail industry leads the pack in its innovative use of tech to keep prices low and customers happy
Retail includes groceries, pharmacies, fashion, electronics, furniture – you name it! Canadian retailers spend heavily on tech tools, and other industries often copy their new ideas. With more than two million workers, the retail industry is the second largest employer in Canada. Half a million retail jobs are in business, managerial, finance and administration jobs, including IT.
- Location-based marketing is exploding with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets As retailers “see” you and your smartphone in their neighborhood they will offer mobile gift cards, couponing “friend”-based discounts, and so on!
- Radio frequency identification (RFID) are replacing barcodes in retail with smart tags that wirelessly transmit information to easily track a product from its arrival in a store’s inventory to its exit with the buyer out the door. RFID tags will also track such product information on shopper preferences such as registering how many times a pair of jeans were tried on but put back on the rack!
- Smart bar codes are printed on publications, posters and packaging. When scanned or photographed by a smartphone or tablet, the codes provide detailed information about the product or service. Let’s say spring break is coming and just as you are dreaming about a tropical getaway, you walk past a travel agency with destination posters in its window that have bar code tags on them. You take out your smartphone and scan the tag next to each destination and – presto! All the details about each trip immediately shows up on your smartphone!
Social media marketing and analytics are essential in retail today to build relationships via sites like Facebook and Twitter. as well as collect real-time consumer data on current shopping preferences and trends in how they are changing.
Retail Tech Careers
Because such a wide range of technologies are being adapted to the retail sector, you can choose a number of career paths and match it to the part of retail that interests you the most. Here are just a few of the CareerMash Career Profiles that are playing important roles in retail today:
- graphic designer
- mobile apps designer
- mobile apps developer
- web useability specialist
- web technician
- IT systems manager