Retail technology improving the in-store experience

“Brick and mortar stores aren’t going anywhere.” This is a phrase we hear time and time again and, frankly, it always rings true.


In a recent STORES article, Nadia Shouraboura, CEO of Hointer and former Amazon Exec., notes that there is a bridging of old and new approaches to retail that are helping both to thrive. To her, tracking inventory was a perfect example of this theory in action. Her company sought to bring greater inventory knowledge onto the sales floor.

From the article:

By simply tapping e-Tags with their app-enabled smartphone, shoppers can learn the story behind an item through video clips and product highlights. The app delivers personalized recommendations, styling tips, fit information and product reviews. Shoppers can add items to their fitting room with just one click, and items are delivered in 30 seconds via an onsite micro-warehouse. And more technology awaits inside the fitting room.

Sales associates use tablets that provide a view of who’s shopping in the store and past purchases they’ve made — information that can act as a selling aid.

Shouraboura noted that all the software used at Hointer runs in the cloud; with just one sample of each style on display, shoppers don’t feel overwhelmed by the selection or put off by clutter. Having a smaller-footprint store linked to an onsite micro-warehouse also pays loss prevention dividends; in fact, shoplifting is near nil.

Online sales surged during the most recent holiday season and predictions call for growth to continue. I’m all for it — I love the convenience of shopping online, the cache of inventory and the surfeit of product data. Still, I am blown away by the environment Shouraboura has created at Hointer. It’s truly a best-of-both-worlds approach.

Shouraboura is convinced that her take on the physical store could inspire the next big thing. I think she’s on to something.