How Smart Design Is Changing the Way to Do Business

The proliferation of smart technology throughout the economy is significantly impacting every sector. Smart tech is typically associated with consumer goods — like smart home assistants, security cameras and thermometers — but over the past few years, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices have taken the business world by storm. 

Smart design is the integration of intelligent technology into both physical and online businesses. The term encompasses everything from digital personal assistants to cargo robots that self-pilot across warehouse floors.

Smart technology is already widely adopted in heavy industry. Now, it’s starting to disrupt retail. Here is how smart design is changing business right now — and how these trends will probably develop in the future:

1. With Smart Design, Stores Can Go Cashierless

One of the most ambitious smart tech applications is Amazon’s most recent foray into the physical retail space — their Amazon Go stores. When customers enter the store, they scan in using their Amazon account. These stores then use a variety of smart tech — including cameras and weight-sensing shelves — to track customer behavior as they move through space. When a customer picks up an item, the store sensors will coordinate to update what that customer has in their “cart.”

When a customer finishes shopping, they can walk out of the store, no checkout required. The funds needed to cover the purchase will be automatically deducted from their account and transferred to the company’s bank account

This kind of smart store is still highly experimental — but if early pilot projects are successful, it could signal a big shift in how retail stores manage staff. In the future, workers may be free from cashier duty and dedicated to other work, like keeping the store clean and shelves stocked.

While most businesses may not want to go all-in on a cashier-less store, individual pieces of the underlying tech can be used in just about any retail environment. Weight-sensing shelves, for example, could give store managers an idea of what shelves are needing a restock. Managers could also use data from customer-tracking tech to visualize store traffic. You can also use Data Recovery Software to ensure that information loss is drastically reduced or eliminated in the business.

2. Smart Consumer Tech Helps Small Businesses Boost Productivity

Smart consumer tech can offer significant benefits for small businesses. Smart personal assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, can take down dictation, schedule meetings, create notes, and even adjust other smart tech devices in the office.

Other forms of smart home tech — like automated lighting and thermostats — can self-adjust office systems, potentially resulting in big energy savings. 

By using all of this technology, small business owners can decrease some of the tedious and repetitive work they may get caught up in during the day. With smart office tech in place, these companies have more time to spend on what really matters for growing a small business — perfecting your product and vision.

3. Smart Advertising Provides New Opportunities for Marketers

Even though you don’t need designers’ skills for creating new brochures and just use ready templates like Crello brochure, Smart Advertising is becoming more and more popular.

Smart displays integrate smart tech to provide an interactive experience for consumers. These displays can offer various functions and features that help marketers collect better data and provide more relevant experiences for customers. Some, for example, can track what customers are looking at and highlight related products. Others can track dwell time or collect demographic info on consumers.

Marketers could use this information to improve product recommendations or provide more targeted incentives — both of which are great ways to attract more customers to a business.

These displays can also be extremely beneficial for shoppers. A store could outfit the window of a freezer containing ice cream, for example, with a smart display showing information on best-by dates and freezer temperature.

4. Interactive Product Catalogs Help Customers Try Out Items

Smart displays aren’t the only use of interactive technology in retail and business.

Similar tech advancements that take advantage of smart tablets have already made their way into a few different stores. For example, there’s Specsavers’ Frame Styler, an in-store tool that helps customers pick out glasses that complement their face. Using one of the store’s iPads, customers can quickly take a 3D scan of their face and receive personalized recommendations for glasses based on style and fit. With the app, they can compare dozens of pairs of glasses within just a few minutes.

For businesses that want to tailor recommendations to their customers, similar forms of tech could be a big help — even when staff isn’t available to assist.

5. QR Codes Make Supply Chain Transparency Easy

At Hema, an offline store run by Chinese retail giant Alibaba, customers can use a proprietary app to scan QR codes on different food items. Scanning a code brings up relevant info for each item, like where the place of origin is, how the food was harvested, and even how cold it was inside the food truck that delivered the goods. In-app, they can also complete their 

The widespread deployment of this tech will likely be great news for both consumers and businesses. However, not every company will want to integrate QR codes for each product around the store. For these businesses, up-and-coming apps like Digimarc, which can provide product information to customers based on visual recognition of those products, will be useful.

6. Store Apps Can Make Omnichannel Smoother

If businesses integrate in-store QR codes or apps with online offerings, consumers will be able to use the tech to move instantly from channel to channel. They could find a product in the store and look up it’s online listing within seconds. If a customer needs more detail about an item or can’t find the specific type or size of the product they’re looking for, they can order the correct version within seconds — before they even leave the store.

For businesses, the tech could also keep the omnichannel experience consistent. Consumers already tend to take advantage of several of the channels at their disposal. Because customers use multiple channels, businesses want to keep product information and availability as consistent as possible across those avenues. If a buyer sees a product in the store and is interested but can’t buy it right then, you want to make it easy for them to find that item via another storefront when they’re able to make the purchase. 

These simple QR codes aren’t particularly new tech. However, they could provide a big opportunity for businesses wanting a little help in creating and managing their omnichannel experience.

Smart Design Can Transform Almost Any Business

With the proper application of smart tech and artificial intelligence technologies, businesses, starting from creating a logo, can transform how they offer products and gather customer information. Even small businesses that may not be able to take advantage of tech intended for larger companies can benefit from smart technology and design. Something as simple as a smart home assistant or thermometer can help an organization with limited resources streamline workflows and reduce spending.

About the author of this article:

Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is an IoT enthusiast, an aspiring Olympic curler, and a web designer. She enjoys hiking with her golden doodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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