An exhibitor demonstrates a robo shopping trolley at the Etisalat Technology stand at Gitex.
Wouldn't it be great to have a buddy that can follow you around in a supermarket, hold all your items, and then calculate your total bill before you even head towards the checkout?
Experts at Gitex Technology Week 2017 say that it might be possible in the very near future. Visitors at the Etisalat Technology stand were treated to just such a sight at their Smart Retail section. Everything from AI check-ins to robo trolley carts and smart mirrors, were being showcased to give attendees a vision of the supermarkets of the future.
Greeting visitors right at the entrance of the Smart Retail section was the wiiGO - an autonomous and self-driven shopping cart, designed to follow people with or without reduced mobility in commercial areas. The robo cart is able to identify customers thanks to its facial recognition software, and comes with distance sensors that enable it to avoid collisions with people or any corners.
Developed by Follow Inspiration, the wiiGO also comes with a unique built in sensor that scans the items that you place in its cart. Items that are returned to the shelf in case you change your mind are automatically removed from the checklist. Experts at the stand noted that the prototype was proving to be very popular with visitors, and that many companies across various sectors could improve their operations with such technology.
Another technology that was being showcased at the stand was retail blockchain. In the future, customers will be able to track each and every item that they purchase, with the wealth of information regarding the product available to them in real time. Shoppers will be able to tell where their product came from, where it was packaged, if it is organic, and whether it was produced sustainably or not, experts at the stand revealed. In addition, customers will also be able to get extra information related to the product's nutritional value.
One innovation that has taken the retail world by storm are smart mirrors that use Augmented Reality to show customers what they would look like in different types of clothing. A shopper that is in a hurry will not need to waste time trying on different outfits, when there is a screen readily available that will show them wearing different clothes and offer advice on the right sizes to pick. The shopper will then be able to narrow down their choices before placing an order for their items and then heading to checkout.
Lastly, experts at the stand also showcased how radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology will be used by retailers to better help customers. RFID tags that are placed on items will allow retailers to be better prepared when it comes to stocks and inventory, and even gather valuable data on the most popular products. The tags will also improve shopper experiences by allowing customers to know more about the products that they are buying so that they can make more informed decisions, especially when comparing the pros and cons of different products.