Amazon Go Smart Stores

Smart stores use real-world store technology to lure shoppers back from the internet, and maybe even nudge them to spend more in the process.

Amazon’s new experimental grocery store in Seattle, opening in early 2017, will let shoppers buy goods without needing to stop at a checkout line. Sensors track items as shoppers put them into baskets or return them to the shelf. The shopper’s Amazon account gets automatically charged.

“Amazon, for good or bad, has been setting the path,” said Robert Hetu, research director at Gartner Research. “Each retailer is going to have to respond in some way. But it’s not one-size-fits-all.”

Kroger, Neiman Marcus and Lowe’s are among the companies already experimenting with futuristic retail stores. Robots, for instance, could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room ” or how you might look in a pair of jeans.

Plenty of retailers have learned that technology can’t get too far ahead of shoppers. It has to be easy to use and beneficial to shoppers in some way, whether it’s to save time or money. If retailers get it right, they might succeed in boosting spending at retail stores at a time when consumers increasingly prefer to shop online.

Here are five technologies coming to a store near you →

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