High-tech innovations were on display at the National Retail Federation Expo.
At a concept store, you can grab items and skip the checkout. Cameras see what shoppers take and payment is sent directly from your mobile device when you walk out the door.
The company Valtech, meanwhile, has a VR shopping experience that allows customers to check out the latest camping gear.
This blending of the real and virtual worlds is part of an effort to attract shoppers, especially younger generations.
Intel’s Jose Avalos says businesses need to offer them something unique.
“It needs to be convenient in many cases. It needs to provide an experience, and it also needs to provide the capabilities of online,” Avalos said.
A video wall at the expo was engaging customers. It turned you into a cartoon character and printed a picture with a code that could be redeemed for a coupon.
Some stores now have Memomi’s digital mirror that lets shoppers pick the best makeup colors for their complexion without using a brush. The smart software also helps them test out hair color.
A kiosk from Tastry, designed for grocery or liquor stores, uses a series of questions to pick the best wine for your palate.
“We look at what we call the flavor matrix and how it’s tied to different compounds in the wine and these questions are related to that,” said Katerina Axelsson, CEO and founder of Tastry.
It’s another way companies are trying to sell an experience to get shoppers in the door.