Incorporating Technology into Your Retail Program


Understanding how technology can play a role in your retail merchandise program can help your zoo, aquarium, or museum shop stand heads and shoulders above the rest. Technology can be found at just about every step of the consumer journey from entry to product selection to check-out. Creating a shopping experience that integrates technology is the new norm. Here are the top eight technology trends in retail merchandising:

  1. Interactive Displays: Many shops are moving away from text heavy, static signage, which is time consuming and expensive to switch out. Incorporating touchscreens to provide product information is easier to update on the back end, provides a more interactive visitor experience, and gives the organization a turn-key vehicle for customized “storytelling.”
  2. Digital Signage: Utilizing digital screens for dynamic content can capture attention and highlight products. Large format digital signage used at the shop entrance can draw visitors in and communicate shop specials, events, and/or new products. Finally, digital screens can better support dynamic pricing models.
  3. Mobile Integration: Many shops are integrating mobile devices or QR codes so visitors can obtain additional product information or even make their purchases on their phones.
  4. Print on Demand: This allows visitors to choose and design their own products like t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, or caps online using a self-serve kiosk in the shop. Visitors can customize their selections by size and color, and in 5-7 days, the merchandise is shipped directly to their home. The organization is not required to purchase inventory in advance, and these items can be sold both on your online and physical stores.
  5. Custom Prints: Some museum entities offer archival quality prints from their collection allowing visitors to customize by size, medium (paper, stretched canvas, etc.), and frame type. Visitors can order from a kiosk in the shop or online. Again, there is no on-site inventory required.
  6. High-Tech Merchandise: There are many popular products on the market that urge visitors to download interactive apps, like Fahlo | Animal Tracking Bracelets ( The product is a bracelet that comes with instructions to download an app to track an animal’s location in the wild with proceeds benefiting multiple conservation efforts. This type of product has the ability to appeal to a multigenerational audience.
  7. Self-Checkout: As staffing challenges continue, offering self-checkout reduces wait times and also minimizes the chance of a visitor changing their minds about making a purchase due to long lines.
  8. On-Line Store: On-line stores have become a necessity for so many shops that we work with. They allow visitors to make purchases after they leave the building and are especially important around holiday time.


In a short time, technology has gone from being a luxury to a requirement for successful mission-driven museum, zoo or aquarium shops. At every stop in the visitor shopping journey, technology can play a role in drawing people in, keeping them engaged, and ultimately making a purchase. Maximizing technology across all experiences demonstrates an organization’s ability to remain relevant and forward thinking.

If you are interested in learning about how your museum retail shop or zoo or aquarium store can increase sales and support your organization’s mission in new ways, contact JGL!


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