The Harvard Business Review recently provided an overview of what it called contactless commerce. The analyst who authored it suggested that some of the technologies to bring about such experiences have been available for years, but they have been adopted more rapidly following the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the examples of the tools for contactless retail include machine learning, robotics, big data analytics, augmented reality and computer vision.
A consumer might use their credit card or a mobile app to check in as they arrive at a retail location, for instance. Consumers could opt in to allow computer vision applications to recognize them at a turnstile embedded with sensors or at a kiosk.
Meanwhile, machine learning applications can be trained to recognize thousands of stock keeping units (SKUs), which can then be tracked via sensors when customers pick products up from the shelves. That means the same customers could leave the store and have their credit cards automatically charged without having to wait in a checkout line.