How to Deliver Powerful, Immersive Retail Experiences with a Small Footprint

Key Takeaways:

  • Customization and on-demand delivery are the key to immersive in-store retail experiences.

  • Intel can help retailers implement digital transformation and achieve their innovation goals.

  • Strategic investments in edge-based solutions, with hardware-enabled security and management tools, can pivot to meet a number of use cases as your retail needs change.

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The Urgency of Digital Transformation

If there is one word to encapsulate the opportunity retailers have at their fingertips, it is customization. 83 percent of retail executives say that the integration of customization and on-demand delivery will ‘mark the next big wave of competitive advantage’ according to consultancy Accenture.1

As more consumers turn to online retail platforms, the urgency of transforming the in-store experience is clear. Many are not, however, giving up on shopping in-store entirely. Omni-channel shopping experiences are increasingly common. For example, in the United States between February 2019 and February 2020 the popularity of buying online and picking up in store grew 28 percent.2 While customers are still coming into retail, banking and hospitality branches for any purpose, there’s an opportunity to capture their imagination – and their business.

From digital signage to touchless kiosks, digital transformation in retail environments can take a number of forms and will vary from business to business. Even when a use case has been identified, it can be challenging to understand what hardware is required to deliver.

This article is designed to help operation and innovation managers in retail, banking and hospitality environments with practical, implementation-based questions. It will help inform digital transformation discussions that retailers are having with their system integrators (SIs), including where and how Intel can support their plans.

83 percent of retail executives say that the integration of customization and on-demand delivery will ‘mark the next big wave of competitive advantage’ according to consultancy Accenture.1

Challenge: The Retail Sector Is Evolving Fast. I Don’t Want to Invest in Technology That Will Be Out-of-Date in a Few Years

Solution: Strategic investments in the right technologies can help enable a number of use cases over time, keeping your data points agile. Content and advertising materials created for in-store consumers, and optimized based on their feedback, can also be used on company websites and social media channels.3 People counter solutions originally intended to monitor traffic flows around the store can be reimagined to ensure adequate provision for social distancing. Digital signage can be used to remind customers to wear masks and keep their distance. Pivot your foundational solutions to provide the insight you need as points of influence change.

Ultimately, edge-based computer vision solutions like these in retail stores are the powerhouse behind the most valuable commodity digital transformation can bring to retailers: data. With data collected from anonymous sources in-store – including payment terminals, heat maps and smart mirrors – retailers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to infer more about customer engagement and interest. As data volumes grow, so does the ability to retrieve decision-making insights that can be used to adapt to audience needs in near real time.

How can Intel help? Whether externally plugged in to a display or built in, Intel® Smart Display Module (Intel® SDM) is one example of a technology that helps enable retailers to get started with many of these use cases. Imagine, you can include all-in-one displays, interactive kiosks and video walls which can be applied across a range of use cases. For example, Intel SDM supports the latest visual Internet of Things (IoT) applications like user friendly bedside terminals for hospital patients or factory automation solutions. These flexible solutions help meet the needs of varying environments offering you more scale.

Challenge: How Will I Manage All of These Devices Once I’ve Installed Them?

Solution: It’s often said that the real cost of a digital display solution is not in the implementation, but in its management. Before making an investment, it is a good idea to have a clear plan in place as to how all the data and insights being generated will be managed. This means thinking about how best to maximize technology capabilities, minimize unscheduled downtime, and reduce the amount of time and money invested in managing devices.

How can Intel help? Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT)—available on Intel vPro® Enterprise can help retailers achieve a unified architecture that reduces both cost and complexity. With Intel AMT, IT managers can solve everyday issues remotely, limiting the need for in-person service calls or the intervention of on-site staff, and helping to reduce the time needed to get devices back online.4

Challenge: Will My Customers Adjust to New Ways of Interacting in Store?

Solution: There’s evidence to show that many customers actually prefer digital interactions in store. One study found that 75 percent of customers find self-service options to be convenient, and 67 percent would rather serve themselves than speak to a company representative.5 What’s more, customers are willing to pay a premium for a digitized, connected shopping experience that’s consistent across online platforms, mobile devices and in store.

How can Intel help? Intel SDM can be plugged directly into many digital retail displays and is scalable for both simple and complex applications. It’s specifically designed to support sleek displays with maximum integration flexibility. The slim designs it enables make it well suited to a range of applications. These include digital signage, kiosks, professional monitors, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, ‘magic mirrors’, and interactive flat panel displays.

Challenge: How Do I Keep the Data Captured by in-Store Devices Secure?

Solution: As digital displays become more central to business operations, and as they take over more retail duties, they should be protected with the highest degree of security possible. The legacy model of software protecting software can’t keep up with advancing threats against digital security, safety, and privacy. Security solutions for retail should start with the hardware layer.

How can Intel help? The Intel vPro® platform is architected with enhanced hardware-based security features that help minimize the risks associated with security threats. Part of the Intel vPro® platform, Intel® Hardware Shield provides enhanced protections against attacks below the operating system (OS) and advanced threat detection capabilities for increased platform security.6 Intel® Hardware Shield helps reduce the attack surface to protect against damaging firmware-level attacks, while offloading routine security functions for lower user impact and continued productivity.