New Retailing

Murn2 1The traditional retailing business model is experiencing radical change, with the continued impact of Web-based technology. By Tom Murn

The retailing process generally means that the consumer receives some level of customer service by a clerk or proprietor. Automatic convenience vending means the consumer is engaged in “personal service” and “self-enablement.” Two different diagrams here reach the same conclusion: The consumer obtains or buys a product they want, through a sale. This rudimentary analysis takes us to the cosmos which retailing faces in 2018.

Many retailers are frightened by the future they perceive as new, uncharted, and unstable. Some retailers are accepting, even embracing innovation as opportunity. Retailing terms and conditions are now being driven by technology applications. Cultural attitudes and social habits of people continue to influence retail.

Traditional retailers must restructure

The emerging economics of the retail sector are an amalgamation of their retail siblings. Digital and cloud technology along with the smartphone phenomenon has made online shopping dynamic for nearly every retailer. As part of this, the behavior and habits of consumers – the ways in which they shop, buy, and transact a sale – are changing. Traditional retailers are being forced to restructure their organizations to meet this marketplace.

To some degree it’s an upheaval from consumer shopping and a retail playing field, which has been fairly consistent for the past fifty years. As today’s retailing transition progresses, retailers need to make their brick-and- mortar, real estate, and personnel more responsive to consumer demand.

Artificial intelligence enables self-service

Automated convenience vending armed with artificial intelligence can be the synthesis so that the consumer can accomplish what they want from their shopping visits in simple, pleasant, easy experiences. The smartphone is now being integrated with the store as today’s consumer will see an offer in their phone and the app will direct the person to the closest vending source, which contains the product they are seeking to buy. They may also get an instant discount when they pick it up.

Self-checkout vending machines play a new, significant role in a store. The consumer, who often has an idea of what they want can simply help themselves to the item. When they dip their debit, credit, or house account card then open the door to take the merchandise, they are automatically charged. They are able to leave the store without any further administrative or clerk involvement.

In many stores, more than 50 percent of the items sold are standard, stock products, which in most cases should not require a clerk. Today’s artificial intelligence devices are capable of answering questions and discussing the features of an item with the consumer. When retailers are challenged by today’s rising personnel costs with restrictions on scheduling during peak hours, this becomes a key cost benefit bottom line savings.

Finally, this format minimizes any theft, pilferage, or shortages, which typically take place in many retail settings, despite all security measures. Simply, whenever the door on the automatic self-checkout machine opens the person opening that door is charged for the product items removed. The employees stocking devices have biometric thumb and Iris access, which thoroughly eliminates employee theft. Retailing and vending have dominated the way in which our economy and our society accesses goods, products, and merchandise.

Tom Murn is the founder, chairman and CEO of Viatouch Media, an artificial intelligence tech platform for retail.

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