With the rapid evolution of technology, we have become immersed in the digital world, using our smartphones to seek quick solution­s in everyday life. Although these digital communications differ from human interactions, consumers now feel connected to brands all around the world instead of just their local supermarket down the road.

In the past, we’ve seen technology connect consumers with retail products through a multitude of channels including television, radio, magazines, emails and social media. In today’s digital world, new emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Near Field Communication (NFC) are having a significant impact on the retail industry, creating more immersive retail environments for the consumer.

New payment systems like tap-and-go, Afterpay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are also influencing the retail sector. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Mobile Consumer Survey, easier mobile payment technologies has enabled significant growth in mobile purchases of up to 25%. This increase in in-app and touchless payment technologies has overcome the traditional barriers to purchase.

With the majority of consumers researching products and comparing prices on their mobile devices while shopping in-store, smartphones are becoming the most used shopping platform. Therefore, retailers need to find new ways to engage and interact with their customers, connecting them with quick and relevant product information instantly.

Although Quick Response (QR) codes are not “new technology”, they are quickly becoming an emerging trend in retail. Retailers are using QR codes to connect the real world with the digital world. With the majority of consumers researching products online before buying in-store, QR codes are used to provide consumers product information quickly. The consumer simply scans the code through their mobile device to learn more about each product.

Leading furniture and hardware retailers are already using QR codes to make it easier for consumers to explore, understand and purchase products instantly. Consumers now can view, feel, touch and experience the product in-store before scanning the QR code for a quick and easy checkout, rather than lining up at a traditional cash register. Various retailers are also using QR codes to create their own virtual shop, providing a virtual in-store experience for tech-savvy shoppers. Within a few clicks, consumers can organise delivery from the warehouse straight to their homes without even speaking to a shop floor assistant. Further to this, QR code technology also has the ability to store consumer product history and can prompt new products, recommend particular brands and offer personalised discounts according to the consumer’s scanned history.

With the introduction of NFC functions, these personalised marketing methods have already hit the ground running. In fact, retailers around the world have partnered up with printing manufacturers like Brother International Australia to implement these codes throughout the shop floor. Brother is a leading global manufacturer of laser printers and labellers. Combining technology and interior design, Brother has released its first smartphone dedicated Bluetooth labeller for retailers of all sizes. With the industry becoming more fast-paced and tech-driven, these portable labellers are equipped with wireless connectivity, allowing retail staff to create and edit price tags, barcodes, QR codes and labels instantly.

According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Pronto Software’s 2017 Australian Retailer Technology Report, 37% of physical retailers plan to invest in technology to improve their store design in the next 12 months. Therefore, Brother’s cutting-edge mobile labelling devices are a cost-effective way retailers can maximise new technology to support the digitally connected consumer, without overwhelming them with too much change. So how can we help you?

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