No More Lines: A Preview of Shopping in the Future

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Adobe Marketing Cloud Evangelist Marc Eaman demonstrates the Smart Bag during the day one keynote at Adobe Summit. Photo courtesy of Maralise Petersen.

In-store shoppers spend about 39 billion hours a year waiting in line, according to Capgemini Consulting Research. Imagine how happy those customers will be if retailers give them that time back.

“The one thing we all want back is time,” says Kim Smith, Adobe’s global head of digital services innovation. “We can help retailers engage earlier in the in-store funnel, and create lifetime value for both the buyer and the seller.”

Visitors to the Experience Center Pavilion at this week’s Adobe Summit in Las Vegas are able to get a preview of how digital services and the Internet-of-Things (IOT) can add value for retailers and customers.

The new in-store environment, powered by the Adobe Cloud platform, is designed to help boost revenue and provide shoppers and outstanding experience.

The “Smart Bag,” not only keeps track of what’s inside, but also connects to the cloud and makes all of that product information instantly available on the buyer’s connected devices. The Adobe-powered device was developed in partnership with experts from Capgemini, and with Twyst Inc., a pioneer in connected bag technology.

“This new retail shopping technology integrates with all of tools in Adobe’s Creative, Marketing  and Document clouds,” says Kim. “It will enable our retail partners to reach customers wherever they are in the sales cycle, and to optimize the buying process at the point of sale.”

Using digital tools, from marketing automation to e-sign solutions, retailers will be able to pull more customers into their stores, track-in store buying behavior, and customize future marketing messages based on the individual customer’s buying history and preferences.

While behind the scenes there are a lot of moving parts, the front-end of the process is relatively simple: Imagine you see a sweater you love online, and then head to the mall to try it on in-person.

When you arrive at the store, a sales associate hands you a Smart Bag, and the sweater you put into your online shopping cart is already in the bag. You browse in the store and, along the way, you find a scarf and a hat. As soon as you put them into your Smart Bag, they are added to your online shopping cart, too.

When you step into the dressing room to try on the sweater, a flat screen on the wall brings up a detailed view of all items you have in the bag. To check out, you click a button on your app, and it’s immediately ready for an e-signature. The transaction is complete before stepping out of the dressing room.

Our re-imagined retail experience offers upsides for both the customer and the merchant. “If we can do a better job of streamlining the shopping experience, then it becomes a much cooler and productive way for retailers to engage with their customers,” says Kim.

The new platform combines cloud-based digital services with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

A chip embedded in a tag that’s about the size of a razor blade stores data such as product SKU number and price. The product can then be automatically tracked and identified by an RFID reader in the Smart Bag.

By using technology to streamline the physical journey, retailers also will be optimizing the shopping experience. Ultimately, that means happier customers and higher profits.

To learn more, check out the Smart Bag in action during our Adobe Summit day one recap video or this story in Fast Company.

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