Technologies continue to reshape the retail landscape. As a retailer, you must be able to keep up with changing technology trends so that you can survive in the competitive market. Although the future of the retail industry can’t be accurately predicted, but you can still get a pretty good picture of what will happen in the next few years by looking at retail technology trends that are currently making waves.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to adopt all the retail technology trends mentioned in this article, but some of them are worth considering.
1. AR & VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are increasingly popular among retailers this year. Both technologies are considered capable of delivering great customer experiences and also attracting more visitors.
VR allows visitors to enter “another world” and make them appear to be there, while AR presents a variety of additional visualizations in actual reality, usually in the form of images, text, moving objects, and so on.
Some retailers that use these two concepts are Amazon, IKEA, Zara, and Adidas. Zara provides an AR application that allows visitors to get visual information about the price of clothing and even see how the clothes are worn by the models just by focusing their smartphone cameras on certain areas of their stores.
Adidas carries a different theme through VR. The multinational sportswear manufacturer presents an in-store experience on their website through a 360-degree video. Customers can even view detailed information about their products and immediately buy the products they want without having to close the video.
2. Shipment Trackers
Today, most of online retailers have enabled their customers to track the shipping status of their orders through their mobile apps. In the past, only shop owners could track couriers. Now customers can do the same. Providing a shipment tracking feature for customers is one of the best strategies to improve their satisfaction.
3. Voice Search
Customers tend to choose shopping methods that they think are most practical. One of the shopping methods that are currently most popular is voice-based shopping. Through applications like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and HomePod, customers are only required to mention or request the products they want and then they will get various references in seconds.
If you want your store to be referred by Google Home, the first step you need to take is improving your SEO. Check out the following video to get the tips on how to optimize your website content for the voice search revolution.
While it is true that e-commerce continues to grow, physical stores are still in demand by consumers. According to a survey conducted by TimeTrade, 85 percent of consumers prefer shopping at physical stores rather than online. However, most of them did not immediately come to physical stores to shop. They usually would search for products online, then buy them at physical stores.
Currently, many retail stores are utilizing this phenomenon by adapting the BOPIS strategy (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store). They let their customers purchase or place orders on their websites and pick the orders up at their physical stores. Some of the major retailers who pioneered this tactic are Target, Lowe’s, Walmart, Nordstrom, and The Home Depot. It is estimated that 86 percent of retailers will be implementing the strategy this year.
5. Self-Service Kiosks
Nowadays, self-service kiosks aren’t only used in cafes and restaurants, but also in retail stores. The machines are intended to provide more satisfying shopping experiences for customers. By using self-service technology, customers can check item availability, find the right size or color of the products they’re buying, and even make payments by themselves. That means, no more long queues at the checkout.
6. Cloud POS
Cloud POS is still one of the top retail technology trends this year. Not only does it help retailers speed up the checkout process, but also stores important data such as customers’ credit card details more safely. Staff don’t have to rely on cash registers, because they can manage payments with their smartphones or tablets even when the power is out. This software is also an affordable option for small businesses.
7. Marketing Automation
Now more and more retailers are realizing how significant automatic solutions are to the efficiency of their business processes, including marketing. The more customers they have, the more complex the campaigns they have to create, as their customers have different characteristics and preferences.
Marketing automation software allows retailers to segment their customers and create targeted campaigns. Campaigns and newsletters can be customized to suit customer preferences. Retailers can also set up triggers to send emails based on actions taken by their customers, for example; Amazon use triggers to send personalised email marketing campaigns to their customers based on their past purchases.