2019 marks the year that many mobile carriers launch their 5G networks. It’s the fifth generation of wireless technology. The changes include new smartphones with 5G capability, which have only recently hit the market. That means most people don’t yet have access to this powerful network.
However, it’s important to start covering the 5G revolution as it starts to prepare retailers for the opportunities to come so changes can start now to accommodate the new network. With 5G comes enhanced speed to move a greater amount of data at a faster rate.
There is also increased potential for better responsiveness. With the trend toward increased device usage, 5G also allows greater connectivity to accommodate smart devices and IoT sensors.
Impact on Retail
With these new capabilities offered by 5G, retailers can improve customer experiences. The speed and connectivity means a greater ability to power the new technologies needed for these experiences, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, interactive mobile apps, identity recognition software, and personalized digital signage. As a retailer, you will be able to collect more data to further personalize experiences you want to create for customers.
By investing in these technologies first and implementing 5G, retailers can offer a way to satisfy customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. Examples include interactive changing rooms where customers can request different sizes or clothing delivered to them.
Customers can also receive messages while they are in the store to guide them toward new items they might like based on previous purchases. Future ideas include interactive storefront displays that change as customers pass or enter the store. 5G can also power heat mapping technology to track customer behavior while they are in the store to understand where they spend their time.
How Payments Will Change
5G will also impact other aspects of your business in exciting ways. Payments is one of these affected areas. Now is the time to understand what will change so you can make the appropriate investments now to be ready.
With more people preferring to complete purchases from their mobile devices, 5G will enhance mobile shopping experiences and speed these transactions. Quicker checkouts means more people will turn to this shopping method, which is all the more reason why you need to ensure you can deliver a mobile experience through your retail brand. Otherwise, you increase your risk of losing sales to those competitive brands that can.
With 5G capability, you also may need to expand the type of payment options you offer. In addition to mobile wallets, there are blockchain-based financial networks, powered by 5G, which are encouraging transparent cross-border payments, as well as new retail and consumer transactions. All of these payment options open the door to more consumer access around the world for retailers.
Amazon Already Illustrating What’s Possible
Amazon Go is a prime example of what 5G in retail can do. With these grocery stores, Amazon has been able to provide an incredible shopping experience. Once the consumer locates and selects the items, they don’t have to stand in line or wait any longer to complete their transaction. They can simply walk out with their purchases and the transaction is automatically completed within the Amazon app on their smartphone. What might have taken 20 minutes or longer now only takes a couple of minutes. For many, this is the definition of the ideal shopping experience.
A Clear Strategic Direction
There is an expected rise in online and mobile shopping among consumers around the world. The number of consumers moving from desktop to mobile means a critical decision for retailers. Those who don't adopt new payment methods and invest in technology may struggle to survive.
Combine quick, interactive, and individualized shopping environments with greater security, like identity verification solutions, and a retailer can outperform anyone who doesn’t head in this strategic direction.