Vending machines, biometrics and artificial intelligence, peering intently at your face — what else to expect from technological innovations in the retail world?
Lack of qualified personnel, human error, technology development and changing consumer demands contribute to the increasing automation in the retail world. Thus, one of the alternative options for computerized sales became vending machines.
Vending, or vending machines, is becoming increasingly popular around the world, both among retailers and consumers who want to get the right product as quickly as possible, where it is convenient for them. To date, according to a report by the European Vending Association (EVA), more than four million vending machines have been installed in Europe, more than fifteen million in the United States and more than six million in Japan.
The world is becoming more and more open to new technologies, robotics and computerization. Consumers are more and more willing to use vending machines and vending network revenues are increasing every year. More and more "non-standard" offers are appearing: automatic machines selling books, medicines, clothes; automatic sausage vending machines, which caused a real furor in Germany, and much more.
World trends demonstrate the rapid development of this niche. It is predicted that vending technologies may become both an alternative to conventional retailing and a new channel for interaction between producers and consumers.
In Ukraine vending business is practically not developed. The vending machines are used not as a competitive trade format, but as an additional sales channel selling mainly coffee products and snacks. Ukrainian vending niche is practically free, but analysts predict constant growth of this segment in accordance with the world trends.
The sphere of digital commerce in Ukraine is growing rapidly and consumer enthusiasm and openness to new technologies plays an important role in this. Thus, if we believe the results of the study in 2019, more than 60% of Ukrainians would like to introduce biometric authentication as a means of confirming payment.
According to statistics, about 70% of buyers may leave the site when faced with the multistage and complexity of confirming their purchases. That's why easy identification methods to confirm payment can play an important role in increasing sales and reaching a new level of interaction with the consumer.
In Ukraine, a similar project was launched by online retailer Kasta with the support of Visa and PrivatBank. With only a bank payment card, an application and a loyalty card, any consumer can pay with the facial recognition system.
The introduction of this technology makes online shopping more convenient, quicker and much safer for customers. Bioidentification also makes it possible to approach full payment automation when neither a payment card nor a smartphone is required. The whole algorithm of buyer's actions will be reduced to "choose-pay-pay-pay-person".
And in order to earn even more customer loyalty and make this type of payment not only the easiest and safest, but also the most comfortable, have already started to develop and implement additional applications.
For example, the Alibaba company has announced plans to add butist filters to its payment terminals that support the function of biometric authentication. Cosmetic filter in the terminal will eliminate the cases of refusal to use the technology among those customers who may not like their reflection on the screens of face recognition scanners. The company resorted to such innovation based on the results of a social survey conducted by Sina Technology, in which 64% of respondents admitted that they do not like the device in the camera.
The problem of garbage is not new and is increasingly relevant to the world, and the figures supporting this trend are frightening. Today, solid waste management is a financially costly problem for many retailers, and Ukraine has repeatedly been recognized as the world "leader" in terms of hazardous waste.
One more step that brings us closer to responsible consumption of resources and reduction of eco-influence on the planet was opening of specialized waste sorting points by Metro Cash & Carry Ukraine network. Separate containers for glass, aluminum, plastic, waste paper and tetrapaks have appeared at these points.
The waste collected at these points within the framework of this project will be further sorted and handed over to recycling companies to be used as secondary resources for new products. This will reduce both the amount of waste removed and the amount of waste disposal costs.
At the moment Metro network has opened only one point of reception of household waste — in the shopping center Metro Poznyaki, Kiev. But this is only the first step towards the implementation of the project of the German retailer, which promises to soon launch full waste collection points in other shopping centers of its network.
The similar tendency of ecologization of the Ukrainian retail was shown by other retail chains. ATB network establishes collection points for used batteries in all its stores for their further utilization and recycling. And the Silpo network launched garbage collection points in stores about a year ago.
Shoplifting and fraud is a very unpleasant reality for retailers, which costs them a certain amount of income every month. Services that help prevent such situations have immediately become very popular in offline sales.
One such service is a Japanese startup Vaak. Software based on artificial intelligence technology was developed to identify potential thieves among customers by given manifestations of characteristic reactions. The work of this system is reduced to the following algorithm: the program analyzes frames from CCTV cameras and in case of detection of a potential threat alerts are sent to employee devices.
Already at the test run of the system, the software managed to detect the theft, which remained unnoticed by the security. The fraudster was arrested and the shop avoided losses.
And that's not the full potential of Vaak. Developers report that such an opportunity to identify and analyze the behavior of visitors, in addition to preventing theft, can be developed and used to help retailers more effectively place advertising signs and products on the shelves.
Artificial Intelligence technologies are rapidly evolving and are increasingly being used as a tool to help businesses run more efficiently, increase their profitability, and achieve greater efficiency.
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