Retail Industry experiences a paradigm shift with technology that retailers must keep an eye on to meet the growing customer expectations.
FREMONT, CA: Gone are the days when streets were crammed with small retail stores, with people overflowing and chasing their preferences across stores. While the consumers face issues with this brick-and-mortar shopping, they look for a better option that completes the task of shopping in the blink of an eye. In that way, online shopping serves better where consumers shop on their gadgets with just a click of a button instead of taking a trip down to the shopping mall. The advancements in the digital channels are leading to this explosive growth of online shopping. This shift attracts consumers a lot more than the traditional methods, and the retailers must adapt to the transformation to keep in pace with their consumers' expectations. Here are some technology trends that retailers should keep an eye on to gain the competitive edge.
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In a world, where consumers find it challenging to allocate time for shopping in their busy schedules, e-commerce is known to be a bandwagon in the retail industry. It allows consumers to buy products over the internet where they can find their interested products by visiting a website. In an online platform, consumers are given enormous discounts compared to retail stores along with facilities like cash-on-delivery that attracts huge consumers towards online marketing. Retail e-commerce has the provision for writing reviews, a way to analyze the product quality while helping others make decisions. Also, consumers can see product specifications, making people more aware of products while comparing it with other alternatives.
Interestingly, IoT connects over 11 billion everyday products like TVs, home speakers, and other home appliances to the internet, enabling the retailers to obtain hoards of data about the consumers’ preferences. This allows them to send relevant messages to their consumers, thereby promoting their product. For example, Beacons, introduced by Apple in 2013, are small Bluetooth devices that send recommendations such as discounts and other reminders for buyers based on location proximity. With IoT, it is possible to track products that a customer has been looking for and send personalized discounts to their smartphones when the customer is passing by that product at a physical store. Another important application of IoT is smart shelves. It gives the ability to shopkeepers to detect potential theft along with product information like if they are running low or are incorrectly placed in the racks.
Omni-Channel retail marketing
The consumers’ practice is changing with the growth of connected devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Consumers, now, consult these devices before a purchase, leading to increased multi-channel marketing. While consumers look for an item in their laptops or phones and place the order either in their smartphones or the store, multi-channel marketing no longer prevails, resulting in the onset of omni-channel marketing. In doing so, the consumers are given chances to create their own preferable shopping routines which seem to be more attractive, where they can start their purchase in one channel and end it in a different channel. Omni-channel marketing mainly focuses on consumer satisfaction bringing them a seamless shopping experience. Indeed, the retail industry is turning to adopt the omni-channel culture featured with a new generation of omni-shoppers and omni-retailers.
Shoppers tend to exhibit their loyalty to companies that provide deeper insights into their products than others. To accomplish this, retailers will need to remodel their marketing strategy to enforce transparency on every product that can build trust with the consumers. This is mandatory for products in the food and beverages industry where information should be provided beyond what's available in the physical label. Retailers, by leveraging advanced technologies, such as IoT and blockchain, can quickly deliver the information consumers want, such as quality, ethics, safety, environmental impact, and more. In turn, this will help businesses yield better results in terms of attracting new consumers while providing a shopping experience that consumers desire to enjoy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
According to the studies conducted by the Global market in the retail segment, investments in AI technology will exceed the US $8 billion by 2024 with the growth of its applications. In the coming year, AI will significantly impact the retailers as well as the consumers in bringing a delightful shopping experience in many ways. AI can help a consumer see how a product will look in a particular environment where augmented reality (AR) serves to cater to consumer demands. It enables switching the color of a product or even style, offering the consumers with thousands of options and enables to visually acknowledge the working of products like appliances or electronics through animations. Utilizing AI, retail stores help their consumers to experience 24*7 assistance while gathering more profound insights into consumer behavior.
Adhering to the above trends will enable the retail industry to excel in 2019 and beyond and will help retailers to build better digital retail experience for the consumers.