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5G will create the ultimate retail customer experience


If 5G was an advertised sale, there would be people lined up around the building waiting for the doors to open.

While Black Friday attracts crowds looking for a deal, the promise of 5G has companies across all industries anticipating the possibilities. Faster connectivity, greater reliability and security, lower latency, and network slicing make 5G very appealing.

Every retailer is striving to create the best customer environment. Data and insights help drive the experience, but listening to your customers and delivering in multiple channels also support a happy customer.

5G is more than just connectivity and data. It will drive even more digital transformation, and with an entirely different approach to connectivity. It is estimated that, by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion smart connected devices that will each create, collect, analyze, and share data. Mobile shopping in the U.S. continues to increase, with an estimated 100 million purchases made via smartphone in 2018. And, according to Intel, 78% of mobile data traffic will be video by 2021. 5G will connect everything, so retailers can expect to receive massive amounts of valuable data. And on the operations side, retailers can leverage 5G to open stores more quickly, since hardwired connections will not be needed; this will also lower energy consumption.

The rewards of leveraging the potential of 5G are enormous. For retailers, 5G will mean:

  • In-store analytics, so retailers can spot trends early or make predictions on merchandise
  • Customizable merchandise
  • Personalized digital signage
  • Identifying VIP customers when they enter the store via facial recognition.

For customers, the benefits include:

  • Access to hyper-personalized recommendations and promotions
  • Bypassing the dreaded check-out process and just walk out of the store
  • Accessing enriched product information through virtual or augmented reality experiences
  • Interacting with smart displays or mirrors.

With these possibilities, it is easy to see why 5G creates huge excitement with retailers. However, it will take time before the technology can be fully exploited. A recent Capgemini Research Institute report showed the full roll-out of all 5G features may take up to three years.

All industries, including retail, are going to need to assess their connectivity requirements and existing technology portfolios to assess where 5G makes the most sense. Starting pilot programs now can help operationalize the technology and determine the best way to implement it.

5G can be a key driver of digital transformation and enhancing the customer experience, but retailers need to identify the areas where 5G can add value, both now and longer-term, to design the right implementation roadmap to succeed. Waiting to begin planning until 5G is fully realized means you will be one of the last people in line.

Learn more about how Capgemini’s Smart Digital Store can help retailers bring the digital world into the store and open up new ways to engage with consumers, empower employees, and create business value.

Genevieve Chamard

Capgemini’s Digital Retail & Manufacturing Partnership Strategy Leader.

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