Emerging Retail Technology to Look Out For

When tech evolves, customers’ expectations transform along with them.

If you’ve been in retail for a while, you’ve probably come to expect this by now. And while incorporating the newest retail technology in your store is surely key, it’s also essential to understand client trends and preferences in order to craft the best customer experience you can for your patrons.

According to Business Wire, 2018 surely showed us one such grand shift in client preference. A survey carried by the retail advisory firm HRC found close to 95% of customers preferred to be left alone when browsing stores.

“What kind of tech can I incorporate to minimize interaction while also improving customer experience?”

So, as a retailer, the question you should be asking is “what kind of tech can I incorporate to minimize interaction with staff while also improving the overall customer experience?”.

That’s the question we plan to answer today.

Below we’ve covered a few rising trends in retail technology we think you should keep an eye on if you plan on converting some sales, addressing clients’ desires to avoid interaction, and boosting that Yelp score.

Emerging Retail Technology

Scan & Go

scan and go

Scan and go tech in retail has been on the rise for quite some time now as a few companies have begun testing different methods of implementation. Walmart, for example, recently ended their test run of a portable scanner attached to their carts that allowed customers to pay for their produce as they picked it off the shelves.

What’s interesting to note, however, is that Walmart says scan and go tech didn’t lend itself quite well to their particular goods. Because the typical basket size for Walmart is pretty large, scan and go actually made the shopping experience MORE of a hassle for patrons. Though that was the case, we still see all Sam’s Club stores include scan and go technology and that this has resulted in a surge in customer use.   

There’s an important insight to take from this.

Not all retail technology might be right for your particular store. It’s important to take into consideration certain variables like the typical basket size of one of your customers or the cost of your commodity before throwing tech innovations at the wall until one sticks.

If your store’s typical customer experience is accommodating, it may be worthwhile to keep an eye on scan and go tech you can incorporate. You may just find some of the same success Sam’s Club did if it’s incorporated well!

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I’ve been very curious as to why my local @walmartcanada added these yellow holders to all of their shopping carts and today I got my answer! * * As I entered the store I was introduced to #scanandgo which is this cool little machine pictured above. * * I could see everyone walking by saying that didn’t have time to learn about the new system but I was intrigued so I took the 5 minutes to figure out how to use it. * * It is soooo easy! Basically you just scan your items as you place them in the cart then the cashier scans a ‘finish’ barcode and you pay! It seriously turned the check out process into nothing! * * If you see this at your local Walmart try it, your won’t be disappointed! (By the way this isn’t sponsored, I just really thought it was awesome!) * * #walmart #walmartcanada #groceryshopping #savetime #momlife #momblogger #sofast #convenient #grocerystore #oakville #ontario #halton #mississauga #burlont #milton

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Cashier-Less Stores

clothing retail

Further eliminating the need for one-on-one interaction, Amazon has continued to tweak and improve their cashier-less technology. The system they are still testing involves a collection of cameras that tracks shoppers’ purchases and shelves equipped with weight sensors that can keep stock of available goods.

The difference between going cashier-less and scan and go is that the former eliminates the need to even scan. Patrons can, ideally, simply grab an item, throw it into the cart, and head on out.

This tech is definitely still in production and won’t be implemented across stores for a while, but it’s surely something to consider as trends highlighted in HRC’s survey aren’t likely to change for a while.

Phone Charging Stations

phone charging station

Every guest that walks into your store is at some point going to flip out their phone. Whether it’s to message a friend, compare prices, or even leave a review, there’s no denying this cardinal truth. And if a dead phone forces one of your visitors to begrudgingly seek out assistance from one of your employees, it can quickly paint their impressions of your store in a negative way.

This is in no way your store’s fault, but when posting a negative review is just as impulsive and easy an activity to indulge in as eating junk food, it’s your responsibility to guard against it.

“being able to recharge their phones prompted guests to double their shopping time and boosted checkout totals by 29%.”

Phone charging stations are a simple and, unlike other tech mentioned in this post, immediately viable solution to this problem. And according to some findings by GfK, they also deliver an amazing return on investments for the retail store owner.

According to the marketing research institute, being able to recharge their phones prompted guests to double their shopping time and boosted checkout totals by 29%. On top of that, there was a considerable hike in customer satisfaction and review scores.

Suffice it to say there’s more than one reason to invest in this particular piece of tech for your store.         


The secret to successful retail is flexibility. So long as you keep not only burgeoning retail technology, but the needs and desires of your customers in mind and develop accordingly, your business should continue to thrive for years to come.