How Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband Can Help Repackage Retail
Technology in retailing has disrupted how customers and retailers interact over the last few decades. Online shopping makes it possible to reach a global market, while mobile apps allow customers to shop on the go. Despite this, the brick-and-mortar retail experience hasn’t changed much. Customers enter the store, browse, select when they want, check out, and leave, limiting the customer/retailer relationship to the physical store. 5G is poised to offer new retail technology solutions that will expand the customer/retailer relationship far beyond the store.
Imagine a world in which customers give retailers permission to track their data and preferences outside the store through smart and connected products, in order to create personalized targeted marketing that meets the customer’s needs. Imagine a world in which customers can try clothes on virtually using their smartphones, or use AI customer service to direct them to the shelves where the items they want are, without the hassle of tracking down an employee, describing what they want, and hoping the employee knows both what is and where it’s located. This is the world made possible by 5G industry retail.
What is 5G?
5G is the next generation in cellular networks. When compared to the 4G LTE, 5G will be significantly faster and make data-sharing between millions of smart devices (the Internet of Things) possible. At its fastest, 5G could be forty times faster than current 4G networks.
The 5G Retail Industry
The exponential increase in speed and connectivity offered by 5G makes new and more efficient retail technology solutions possible. At present, attempting to collect and share massive amounts of in-store data often overwhelms a retailer’s Wi-Fi network, slowing connectivity to a crawl and reducing performance.
5G can handle such data with ease, while also handling incoming data streaming from hundreds or thousands of customers, their mobile apps, and even the tags on the clothes they wear. Such data will be used to ensure customers can shop anywhere, anytime, and always see their needs met.
How 5G Will Affect the Consumer and Retail Experience
5G’s ability to move data faster and more reliably will provide the consumer with a seamless shopping experience. Retailers will be able to interact with customers before, during, and after store visits, and use an individual consumer’s data to tailor a truly personalized shopping experience.
For instance, if a consumer purchased a piece of clothing and agreed to have her data collected, a smart tag on the clothing could alert the retailer whenever it’s worn. Combined with the data from other sales, the retailer can take this information to recommend new purchases.
Inside the store, improved latency (the delay between data transferences) would allow new retail technology solutions. Customers would benefit from in-store videos, virtual assistants to guide and recommend products, and even 3D printing kiosks. The retailer benefits with the ability to track how consumers interact with products, what they do in and out of the store, and real-time analysis of which products are sold.
At the inventory level, smart tags and smart shelves will track which items require restocking, customer traffic flow, and item location. Data from inventory and distribution centers will provide retailers with greater insight into their supply chains, including tracking individual items from manufacturing to store shelves.
When Will 5G be Available?
5G is now available in 21 major cities across the United States, and will only grow in importance. To be prepared for your company’s transition to 5G, you should consider updating your wireless business plan. It won’t happen overnight, but 5G will inevitably replace 4G as the cellular standard. Are you ready for the 5G retail industry?