Time-sensitive customers are increasingly turning to online shopping because it's quick and convenient and intuitive, helping them find products quickly with recommendations based on their user history. Brick-and-mortar stores need to replicate efficient online experiences to make in-store shopping experiences just as seamless.
Retail edge computing and 5G can enhance retailers’ ability to deliver the seamless, personalized experience consumers want. For example, a store app can connect with the edge computing network, and AI technology can calculate, in near real-time, an appropriate offer or recommendation to make to the customers based on their purchase history and in-app data.
Customers could then use an AR application in the app to virtually try on an outfit or see a product at scale in their home. Matching items could be recommended to them, creating a complete portfolio of suggestions. This hassle-free "try-before-you-buy" experience can minimize changing room queues and, subsequently, reduce customer returns. Using the virtual reality function, customers can instantly access product information, read reviews, compare prices or see how others have used the products on social media, helping them make faster purchase decisions.
Another example of edge computing use cases in retail is edge-connected AR or wayfinding apps to help customers find items on their shopping lists. Customers could pull up their lists, and the server will rapidly compute the locations of the available items and suggest alternatives for the out-of-stock ones.
The low latency and fast speeds that 5G edge computing can enable could also support the deployment of retail edge computing solutions like virtual sales associates to welcome shoppers, help them purchase goods and provide frequently asked information. In fact, the possibilities are only limited to the imagination. As the world emerges from the pandemic, retailers should be considering the impact of this technology and what it can do to lure customers back to their stores. The quicker they can integrate it into their stores, the easier their business will provide the immersive, personalized shopping experiences customers crave.
Learn more about how edge computing use cases and how Verizon can help support the development of edge solutions for your business.