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How Emerging Technologies Are Transforming The Retail Industry

Posted by Anna Mielczarek on 11-Oct-2018 07:30:00

Retail industry has taken a sharp turn. When we compare, what retail was about 10 or 15 years ago, and what it is now, the transformation is enormous. In fact, it makes us realise how fast the industry has changed with the help of innovative IT solutions, and the new technology.

To understand it better, let’s look at the example: before, when someone had to make a purchase, they had a handful of options i.e. few local stores to choose from. And then, it was enough, but now the situation is quite different. Customers of digital age have a multitude of options to decide how and where to buy the product from. With an abundance of information available at the fingertips, customers have high demands and expectations from the retailer – for example, nowadays, we don’t want to simply buy products in the store – we want to get them delivered to our house, and we want it fast.

source: mplSystems

Technology in Retail Industry

So, in this ‘Age of Consumer’, the only survival factor for retailers is to deliver exceptional customer experience – there’s no doubt about it. Retailers cannot just meet customers’ expectations – they need to anticipate them, and exceed them! And, this is where retail IT solutions can help!

Digital Technologies have completely transformed the purchasing methods of consumers. A great number of e-commerce platforms have emerged in the past decade, and they have created an entirely new channel for customers to shop for the required products. But, regardless of the rise of e-commerce platforms, physical retail outlets still exist. And why is that? Well, it can be solely because of the renewed in-store experience they deliver to the customers.


1. AI

Artificial intelligence is a growing trend across most industries at the moment, and no one is surprised why. It can process data far more efficiently than any human ever could. And when we combined it with machine learning, and other emerging technologies, it can enable us to access much deeper insights than were previously possible.

But in the retail industry, AI is so much more than just Digital Assistant helping customers in making an informed buying decision. For retailers, AI also means that they'll be able to uncover all sorts of new ways to optimise their physical locations to increase revenue and overall profit. For example, they will be able to test and vary factors like lighting, temperature, background music, store layout and all the other elements in order to find new efficiencies, and to ultimately make the most of your customer experience.


2. Voice 

The growth of smart digital home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Home Pod will also influence the way many of us shop in the future. So, as consumers get more and more used to using voice technologies as a routine part of their life, retailers will have no choice but to be able to tap into the growing space to position themselves as a provider of choice. Voice SEO will become a thing, and retailers will definitely use it to come on top.

Even now, 44% of those who use a voice-activated speaker, said they use the device to purchase groceries and household items at least once a week. So, just imagine what potential voice technology has and how essential it will become in upcoming years.


3. Beacon

Beacon was first developed in 2013. Fundamentally, this technology enables proximity-based interactions between retailers and shoppers via the Internet of Things. Beacon works utilisng a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacon broadcast signals that are received by nearby Bluetooth devices — in other words, shoppers’ smartphones. As a result, the beacon can determine the customers’ approximate location.  

So, if a person has downloaded a store’s app or opted in for notifications, then the beacon can communicate with them. It can use their purchase history to send them personalised push notifications about a wide range of things that would interest them specifically, from new products to special offers. Stores that have a loyalty and rewards program can also remind shoppers how many points they have and how they can use them.


4. Kiosk Machines

Retailers have long known that every extra step in the purchasing journey will reduce the number of people who actually go through with a purchase. This is why, in 2018, we expect to see more retailers adopting new concepts by making it as easy as possible for people to purchase from them. And, one of the way of doing so is providing self-service checkouts so that shoppers in a hurry can pay for their product and move on. Even now, retail stores using self-service kiosks have reported a noticeable boost in sales, mainly because of the ease of use, convenience and flexibility to shop for products.

But apart from that, these kiosk machines can also use data to strategically up sell and formulate new sales strategy!




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Topics: Digital Transformation, General Tech News, Emerging Technology, retail, Emerging Trends