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Virtual Retail intensifies customer experience

As with most other industries, the ever-moving evolution of technology has had a direct, and impressive impact on retail. The way that consumers shop, purchase, and receive the product points to the fact that it is a radically different world today than it was a short generation ago.

Virtual Shopping. According to Business Insider, “eBay launched what it has dubbed the first-ever virtual reality department store in partnership with Australian department store Myer.” eBay Australia is utilizing “shopticals” that allow customers to navigate the store, and to purchase items using just their line-of-sight. It’s the first of its kind, but definitely not the last.

Virtual Try-Ons. Retail companies have implemented tech services that allow consumers to see themselves in apparel, without even trying it on. One simple photo upload, and instead of visiting a store or even ordering samples, the customer can see themselves in as many different glasses oroutfits as they wish, all from the comfort of their couch. This extends far beyond just apparel though. For example, today’s consumer need not fret over the wrong color choice for their home when they can see it first.

Virtual Experience. Now, in 37 states AT&T customers can benefit from AT&T’s partnership with Samsung Electronics. At 133 stores, “Samsung Gear VR by Oculus lets users virtually experience a Carnival Cruise.” That’s right, you can go shopping for new headphones, and experience a cruise while you’re at it.

The aforementioned are only a few examples that point to the wide-ranging implications of a retail industry that is being drastically altered by both the technology that is the child of modern science, as well as the expectations of the tech-savvy consumer.

However companies have to invest in Cybersecurity Tools in order to improve security and privacy for customers. For instance, the scope of corporate data is widening, and cyber criminals are finding more reasons and ways to undermine that data for profit. Cybercrime is a quickly-growing area of crime due to the anonymity and convenience it provides. So it’s understandable to find the Internet unpredictable and rife with risk.

A case study from the Internet Society offers us acumen in this regard. In 2016, they interviewed over 3000 technology partners from both the public and private sectors on the current drivers of change in their sectors. Their goal is generate recommendations on increasing trust in the Internet, despite news of data breaches and surveillance. Clearly one of the sectors they focus most closely on is cybersecurity.

One outlook is that companies are increasingly depending on multiple companies to handle their security services. Any divide in security is a potential backdoor for cybercrime. That only leaves openings for unexpected costs and lost customers. You want them to trust that you have protected them from data breaches by first protecting yourself.

You also want to protect your employees. The US Office of Personnel Management had records on 21.5 million past, present, and potential employees, stolen from under them. This could happen to an organization due to an employee giving out the info or a program installed that wasn’t detectable until it was already active. Being backed up by an all-encompassing security company can greatly mitigate this risk.


Home is where the customer is

“Home” is where the customer is. The physical home is an extended home-zone, nowadays. If you want to be successful with your services, you have to reach the customer at his home where he uses his devices and sensors. More and more services are anchored at the customer-home – more services for easier coping with everyday life. The customer autonomy continues.
The battle for the living room of the consumer has not ended, as traditional lines of business still have to find their way to the living room of the customer. Technology is the enabler to reach the customer. The right sensors, the right App, the right Infrastructure is needed to generate a value added for the customer. And finally, (Data-)Security and Data Intelligence have to create real benefits for the customer.

Latest developments and examples are:

  • 3-D printing: manufacturing at home
  • Drones: logistics to your door
  • Smart meters: energy autonomy for your home
  • IoT: Sensors and Data-Intelligence decide for a lot of repetitive tasks what to do
  • Streaming vs TV: you decide what to watch
  • Smart loudspeaker

All those customer centric services increase customer autonomy. Technology is hereby an enabler. The more your business model supports customer centric autonomy, the higher the revenue potential.

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