Unified commerce creates new sales opportunities. To cite but one example among many: A retailer may be able to see that a customer has left a forgotten item in an online shopping cart. Because the company knows that the customer was initially interested in buying the product, the question becomes: How can the retailer make that connection in real time? And how do they encourage the customer to follow through on the purchase? Equipped with real-time data intelligence, the retailer might offer an instant discount on the item to close the sale.
“Retailers are spending a lot of time talking about that item I leave in my market basket,” says Roopi Crowley, Managing Director, Strategic Accounts - Retail.
These are hyper-competitive times for big-box stores and other retailers that still maintain a physical presence. The Covid pandemic accelerated the growth of ecommerce, applying even greater pressure to an already stressed sector. In 2020 alone, digital retail spending in the U.S. jumped by 43 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These days, if customers are going to physically visit a store, they need a top-notch shopping experience that is worth their time.
5G enables tech advances—including AR, RFID, and heat-mapping—that help merchants enhance a customer’s visit and can drive sales. Adding private 5G, base stations, and other 5G infrastructure, a store can even introduce “magic mirrors” that allow a customer to virtually try on a garment or experiment with different cosmetics.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to try on lipstick anymore. It’s going to be augmented reality that lets them see what it looks like on their face,” Crowley says. 5G’s connectivity and capacity can also allow for holographic technology that can showcase items that might not be in stock at that store.
Deloitte experts suggest retailers consider the future possibilities for customer experience and store operations using 5G, edge computing, and other next-generation infrastructure. “Begin with proofs of concept to test impact, cost, and technology readiness,” says Deloitte, “and use the data gathered to build the business case for transformation at scale.”