To increase trust in retail technology, trust must be built upon the authenticity of brands. Opportunities we like include knowledge-sharing between customer and store, and by empowering retail customers with open information and ways to make change. Companies need to connect on a more emotional level, leveraging the informative powers of technology and literacy to place the power to effectively act in the palm of their hands. For us all.
We last looked at companies doing this, now we look at how this is already being done across whole retail industries.
In 2017, Wasteless launched as an “internet of groceries” platform. The goal: dramatically reduce the enormous amount of food wasted generated by the grocery retail industry each year in the US. The application uses real-time tracking and machine learning to offer grocery shoppers dynamic pricing based on different products’ expiration dates. Wasteless also uses RFID technology to monitor stock levels and alert employees when items are running low. Integrated into grocery stores, this technology not only reduces food waste, but self-selecting consumers can find better deals on older items or choose not to. Everyone benefits including those receiving donated food carefully tracked to the end of saleable life.
Nudge for Change is a 2017 app that empowers consumers to spend hard-earned dollars in good conscience. Based on live geotagging when consumers approach a chain known for its deleterious environmental impact, Nudge for Change sends a quick alert and provides alternative, sound consumers options. This is based on a detailed ranking system assigned to businesses within their database and personally generated based on the consumer’s core values and beliefs. This empowers and helps consumers to both navigate and actively shape a retail sector not always voluntarily transparent.
Everlane is not cut from the same cloth as most companies. Embracing radical transparency, the young apparel retailer outlines their entire production costs for consumers to see, including labor, materials, duties and even product markups. Everlane then shares photos, videos, and information regarding their factories and employees, to the whole industry openly, challenging the status quo to deliver unparalleled integrity, transparency for themselves while shaping expectations for the industry.
Retail has not always been a beacon of transparency, but increased and more advanced technology is beginning to swing open the doors to an open, trusting, and easy way to showcase and differentiate through a consumer-facing social conscious.
That this technology allows for a deeper kind of emotional connection is both reassuring and powerful. We need that. Together. (Hang in there, Houston.)