Technology in the retail industry continues to change rapidly. As a retail business owner, you must be able to keep up with these changes so that you are able to survive in the high level of competition in this industry. Although the future of the retail industry cannot be predicted with accuracy, at least you can get a good idea of what will happen in the next few years by looking at the retail technology that is currently popular.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to own all of the retail technologies mentioned in this article, but some of the following technologies are worth considering.
AR & VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are gaining popularity among retailers this year. These two technologies are considered capable of providing a great customer experience and also attracting more visitors. VR allows shop visitors to enter “another world” or pseudo reality and make them feel as if they are there, while AR presents various additional visualizations in actual reality, usually in the form of images, text, moving objects, and so on.
Some retailers who use these two concepts are Amazon, IKEA, Zara, and Adidas. Zara provides an AR app that allows visitors to get visual information about the prices of clothes and even see how the clothes are worn by models by simply focusing their smartphone cameras on a specific area of the store.
Adidas carries a theme that is no less exciting through VR. This multinational sportswear manufacturer presents an in-store experience on their website through a video that shows the atmosphere of their shop in 360 degrees. Customers can even see detailed information about their products and immediately buy the products they want through the video.
Now there are many e-commerce businesses that make it easy for their customers to track the delivery status of their own orders through the application. If in the past only shop owners could track couriers, now customers can too. This is one of the best strategies for improving the customer experience.
Consumers tend to choose the shopping method that they think is the most practical. One of the shopping methods currently most favored by consumers is voice-based shopping. Through applications such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and HomePod, consumers only need to mention or ask for the product they want and then get various referrals in seconds.
If you want your shop to be referred to by Google Home, the first step to take is to improve your SEO. Watch the following video to learn it.
Even though e-commerce is on the rise, physical stores are still in demand by consumers. According to a survey conducted by TimeTrade, 85 percent of consumers prefer shopping at physical stores over online. However, most of them do not come directly to the physical store to shop. Usually, they look for the product they are looking for online first, then buy it at a physical store.
Currently, many retail stores are taking advantage of this phenomenon by adapting the BOPIS strategy (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store). They allow customers to buy products on their website and pick them up directly at their physical store. Some of the retailers pioneering this tactic include Target, Lowe’s, Walmart, Nordstrom, and The Home Depot. This year it is estimated that 86 percent of retailers will implement this strategy.
Now it is not only cafes and restaurants that provide this technology, but also various retail shops. The use of self-service kiosks is intended to provide a more satisfying shopping experience for customers. By using this retail technology, customers can check availability, find the right product size or color, and even make payments by entering credit card data. So, no more long queues at the checkout.
Cloud POS is still one of the most popular retail technologies this year. This system not only helps them speed up the checkout process for customers, but also saves important data such as customer credit card details. Staff do not have to rely on cash registers, as they can manage payments using their smartphones or tablets even when the power is out. This system is also an affordable option for small retailers.
Now more and more retailers are realizing how significant automated solutions are to the efficiency of their business activities, including marketing. The more customers, the more complex the campaign that must be run, because customers have different characteristics and preferences.
Marketing automation software allows retailers to segment customers and create targeted campaigns. Campaigns can be customized and adjusted to customer preferences, as well as newsletters. Retailers can also provide triggers to send campaigns based on the actions taken by their customers, for example; Amazon sends emails about product recommendations to their customers after they have purchased a similar product.