One of the best lessons that the retail industry learned from the pandemic is “change is constant.” Yes, the retail industry right now is facing the drastic changes brought by consumer’s preferences and innovation in technology. Entrepreneurs in this niche are facing constant pressure of emerging changes and trying their best to win customer’s hearts. Retailers must manage their advertising budgets, work out complicated procurement problems, and oversee challenging manufacturing procedures as people are often fickle of heart.
Besides, the world is heading towards digital transformation. From online shopping to virtual trial rooms to zero contact deliveries to contactless payments, customer expectations from physical stores are increasing day by day. The corona outbreak does not only have an impact on lives but changed business operations and indeed brought many innovations in technology.
Retailers who were skeptical about digital transformation and technology, now have realized the power of modern tech tools to stay ahead in the competition. So, without wasting no time, let’s see from no contact shopping to click and collect to online payments. The following are four technologies that are driving retail into the future faster than ever before.
Mainstream Technology Trends Will Take Place in the Retail Industry
Looking at the current business scenario, the retail domain has experienced a massive change with entrants catering to specific audiences and an extensive range of products. The trend of online shopping has skyrocketed, and current statistics show that more than 51% of Americans prefer to buy products online. So do the brick-and-mortar retail stores won’t exist anymore? How will the retail industry change over the next decade?
Well, the sole reason behind this drastic change is technology. From online ordering to secure payment transactions to social shopping to real-time tracking, modern tech tools have changed people’s preferences towards online shopping. Another major factor is “convenience”; people no longer need to stand in a long queue as things get done easily using a couple of clicks on smartphones.
According to Elluminatiinc.com, there are more than 2.15 billion digital shoppers, so it’s important to consider where this figure is taking the retail industry and what technology trends pave the way in the retail sector in years to come. Here, we have identified four tech trends that will transform the retail industry for years to come.
Click and Collect
This is the biggest trend in the retail sector, allowing customers to order products online and get them delivered at their doorsteps with real-time tracking features. Customers are afraid of stepping outside due to the virus spreading. Moreover, online ordering also offers speed and comfort as compared to traditional shopping.
While click and collect is not something new, its popularity has been increasing since people have started prioritizing comfort over anything else. And the pandemic has added fuel. In the previous year, it is observed that there is a 60.4% click and collect retail sales boost across the USA.
Therefore, it is not shocking that people often lean towards the doorstep delivery method to keep them secure and offer comfort. Customers can also have an extensive range of products at cost-effective rates. From grocery retailers to eCommerce players to fashion brands, everyone has implemented click and collect trends to drive sales and revenue.
Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analysis
AI, aka Artificial Intelligence, holds a critical position in the transformation of the retail sector. From personalized shopping experiences to AI-powered chatbots, AI is here to stay. Some retailers have already adopted AI to deliver a personalized experience to customers. Here you can take an example of Netflix; it suggests movies and shows based on the user’s preferences and history. This ease of suggestions helps consumers to order and buy products quickly.
During the corona pandemic, retailers found that remote interactions with their customers were essential. They had to recommend products to customers and anticipate demand to make sure they had goods in stock. That’s why they turned to artificial intelligence and machine learning to utilize the data generated by the surge in e-commerce.
However, filtering that huge volume of data can be a daunting task, but thanks to AI and its applications that make the retail industry more data-driven. So that retail business owners can leverage predictive analysis in order to make wise business decisions. They can analyze certain factors,
- Customer’s behavior and their buying history. It allows brands to deliver customized experiences during the entire shopping journey.
- Purchase dynamics and stock reporting. With the help of this, retailers can locate tendencies and improve their personalized strategy.
- Patterns in customer behavior. Using these insights might help boost conversion rates, decrease cart renunciation, and boost sales.
- Customer’s choices and interests. This is how retailer shop owners craft customer loyalty programs and offers that match their preferences.
The average person will spend five to six years of their life on social media, which is equal to 1825 days and more than 43 000 hours. In another study conducted by Hootsuite, it is predicted that more than 81% of people use Instagram to review and research products or services. Therefore, it can be said that the future of social commerce seems bright, and brands will surely benefit from it because product promotion on social media is more cost-effective than other methods of advertising.
But what stands for “social commerce”? Social commerce means the activity of purchasing and selling products on social media platforms. As shopping shifted more online in 2020, Facebook and Instagram leveraged their social media platforms to expand shop capabilities. Shops are custom storefronts on Instagram and Facebook that allow users to purchase products they see online.
The concept of Facebook and Instagram as closed-loop e-commerce platforms is similar to brands selling products on other e-commerce platforms. For retail brands (or agencies), Facebook and Instagram are providing shopper insights, personalized ad campaigns, and targeted product placements.
Retailers can use Facebook and Instagram to target their content to shoppers who have converted. Users can customize what content and ads they see, and retailers can target their content to the right audiences.
The Rise of Digital Wallets
Over 20,000 retail stores are incorporating digital wallets, including E.Leclerc in Poland. Aimia, the company that analyzes consumer data, stated last year that more than 31% of consumers are interested in digital wallets in Europe.
Digital wallets are already here, and they will grow in popularity. There is a massive shift from physical to digital wallets these days. Mobikwik’s CEO once said that wallets are treated as second cousins in today’s payment ecosystem.
People are finding and paying for products and services online in a new way thanks to E-commerce and mobile payments. Also, payment processors are changing how they accept and secure payments due to technology. There is a constant rise in online payments from credit and debit card payments to UPI payments to QR code scanning.
In fact, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst. Brands now are leveraging contactless payment systems to prevent virus spread during the cash exchange between customers and shop owners or delivery providers.
Technology Brought a Great Deal for Retailers to Progress
Technological advancements are part of the retail industry’s rapidly evolving landscape. A smart retailer adopts industry best practices and hires employees accordingly while following up-and-coming technology that will expand and grow their business. Providing a good shopping experience and meeting customer needs are the main objectives of any industry. Retailers can drive growth faster and spend less money with technology adoption.