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What Are You Teching About?

BOPIS. AR. VR. Technology available to retailers can feel like an alphabet soup of terms, and it can be difficult to sort out what each term means and how it can benefit your operation. Below, Hardware Retailing offers a brief explanation of what each type of technology is and the ways you can use it in your business.

1. Augmented Reality

Similar to virtual reality (VR), AR allows the user to combine virtual experiences with their physical world. In retail, AR can be used to create virtual fitting rooms, offer shoppable catalogs and let a customer see helpful information or special deals as they point their camera at different parts of the store.

2. Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS)

The premise is simple: A customer buys a product online and then comes to your brick-and-mortar location to pick it up, either in the store or curbside. During the pandemic, BOPIS was a lifeline for many retailers who couldn’t open their doors to customers because it allowed them to still sell products.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

With IoT, different parts of our lives can “talk” to each other, such as a smartphone connecting to a smart vehicle, or your smart home security system communicating with your lamps and lights. IoT can be used to track products through the entire supply chain process or to track real-time customer behaviors to tailor offers to them.

4. Quick Response (QR) Codes

QR codes are a type of barcode that contain various forms of data, like website links, account information and payment options. QR codes have been around for about 10 years and have a myriad of uses in retail, including sharing discounts and coupons, collecting feedback, accepting cashless payments and sending customers directly to your website.

Sources: Vend Retail Dictionary and Shopify, Retail Technology

Tech Insights
Retailers share their opinions on technology and e-commerce in a recent NHPA survey. See the results here.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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