COMMENTARY

Kagan: Georgia Tech is helping transform retail

June 2, 2017 | by Jeff KAGAN
Kagan: Georgia Tech is helping transform retail

Photo: iStock.com

Retail is under attack. Technology has been impacting and transforming the retail industry for decades. Just look at how Amazon.com and others are putting pressure on one retail segment after another.

And in the midst of the transformation is an amazing entrepreneurial effort.

Georgia Tech has launched a $1 million-dollar retail technology initiative at its Advanced Technology Developers Center. The ATDC, launched in 1980, is the Georgia Tech incubator for new tech companies and ideas.

I have participated with this group over the last decade or two and have to say it is very impressive and important. There are so many important ideas that, because they are not funded, may never had seen the light of day. Now, because of this program, they can grow and become important.

Thanks to this Georgia Tech technology innovation tank, entrepreneurs share space, funding and that magical entrepreneurial spirit. Many business leaders play an important role, participating in this culture and nurturing the growth of ideas.

A $1 million-dollar gift was recently donated from the Mookerji Foundation of the Georgia Tech Foundation. The Mookerji Foundation is Atlanta based and is dedicated to nurturing and enabling entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta.

The retail revolution continues

The Georgia Tech initiative is important asretail faces enormous shifts in technology, competition and customer expectations and behavior and has for the last several decades. And that is only intensifying. It has gone through a major transformation in the last decade or two and that shift continues. Retailers, both large and small are all looking for new technology that helps them remain competitive. Staying connected with the customer is key.

Retail is not going away. In fact, it's going to be more important going forward, just much different. Amazon.com is opening retail stores and are using new technology to let users walk in, pick something up, and walk out without talking with anyone or reaching into their pocket for cash or credit cards. It logs onto their smartphone and automatically charges the customer as they walk through scanning devices at the door.

This is the kind of revolution I've been calling for over the last decade. Ten years ago, the Apple iPhone and Google Android were introduced to our world, and that created the opportunity for this kind of transformation.

Today when we walk into a grocery store we grab a cart, fill it up, walk to the cashier, empty the cart, put stuff in bags, put it back into the cart and pay when we are done. Instead, imagine walking into a store, grab a cart which already has bags inside. Fill the bags in the cart and simply walk out. Everything will be done through smartphones and scanners without the customer having to do anything.

New thinking in retail: grab and go

That's what I have been talking about and calling for over the years. There is no reason we have to continue doing business the same old fashioned way. In fact, as retailers understand and embrace this technology, they will see a real jump in growth.

Make it fun to go shopping. Make your store part of the incredible transformation that we are all experiencing. Don't be like the traditional grocery store. The vast majority of larger, established grocery stores don't even let you pay using your iPhone or Android with Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.

The newer and smaller competitors in the grocery segment do use this new technology and customers love it. They simply pull out their smartphone and pay without cash or credit card. Now, these forerunners need to take shopping to the next level. They need to create a shopping environment like Amazon which lets you simply walk in and out, period. One step at a time I guess.

 


Topics: Mobile Retail, Omnichannel / Multichannel, Payments, Technology, Trends / Statistics



Jeff KAGAN
Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, speaker, author and consultant. Over 30 years he has followed the Customer Experience through technology like wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, AI, Mobile Pay, FinTech and more. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. www

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