Over the past few years, innovative business solutions have been reshaping the retail industry and this trend is expected to continue in 2018 as well. With the year just having begun, now is the best time to contemplate the retail technology trends that will inform and influence the industry during the year. Here the 6 retail technology trends to watch out for in 2018!
It’s 2018 and e-commerce is thriving. Today, retailers are enhancing technological skills and capabilities steadily to not only stay relevant among customers, but also gain an advantage over competitors. In the past decade, retail has undergone significant transformations and more of the same is expected in 2018. The widespread use of the internet and smart phones has facilitated this transformation and has made shopping more customer-driven.
Customers are in charge today and retailers that ignore the influence of technology on their business and don’t provide customers with seamless shopping experiences run the risk of becoming irrelevant. For this reason, knowing the retail technology trends that could impact your business is crucial. Following are the 6 retail technology trends to watch out for in 2018.
1. Increased Focus on Customer Experience (CX)
Despite all the hype around Customer Experience (CX) last year, there was a decline in the focus on CX in 2017. This is according to Forrester research—an American market research company. While CX stumbled in 2017, it is expected to be one of the most important areas of focus for business this year. And, there’s good reason for it.
According to figures released by Salesforce –an American cloud computing company, more than 60% of retail customers say that technology has made it extremely easy for them to switch from a business to its competitor. Additionally, more than 70% of the customers expect a consistent experience across channels from retailers to stick with them. Looking at the numbers, it is fair to say that that today’s retailers require enabling an ideal customer experience across channels to achieve customer loyalty. Soon, Omni-channel retailing will be a requirement rather than an option for retailers to meet their customers’ expectations, increase revenue and become profitable.
2. Increased Focus on Operational Efficiency
With the average inventory misrepresentation rate being higher than ever, now is a good time for retailers to understand and conscientiously plan their entire supply chain. An important thing to do here is analyzing what is being bought by shoppers from the store and also what they are liking. Retailers will understand the value of using technology for business growth once they start using Enterprise mobility in warehouses and stores effectively.
Companies will be able to connect the little pieces together and get a complete picture of things by using technology to increase operational efficiency. Additionally, businesses will need technology to achieve complete operational efficiency and benefit their bottom line.
3. A Wider Technology Gap
How the technology gap has widened between laggards and retail leaders is one retail technology trend from 2017 worth nothing. A ‘wait and watch’ approach to technological developments in the industry is no longer a viable option for retailers. Companies that launch online before expanding into the physical world, have an edge over others in providing tech-savvy shoppers with exactly what they want—a seamless, user-friendly buying experience.
4. Immersive Shopping Experiences
Direct and significant relationships with buyers are enabled by physical stores, and these immersive experiences will become essential in 2018 and beyond as technology enables buyers to take control of their shopping experiences. The physical stores will serve as the perfect platform for retailers to provides customers with experiences that are not possible online.
While shopping online platforms are increasing in popularity each day, physical outlets will never lose their importance due to the immersive experiences offered by them. Currently, the creation of immersive experiences for customers is a practice employed by big brands. However, smaller retailers will follow suit as the expectations of customers rise.
5. Increased Use of Data
Though a lot of data is available to most retailers today, only a few of them are making full use of it. So, if you’re guilty of not utilizing your data too much, then be glad that you’re not alone. As mentioned earlier, it is imperative for businesses to implement systems that really put their data to work if they don’t want to be left too far behind the industry leaders.
What you do with the data available to you is what separates your business from the competition. To ensure success, you’ll need actionable insights that can help you to improve operations and/or customer experience.
6. The Use of Facial Recognition in Retail
In 2018, face recognition technology will pique the interest of many businesses in the retail industry. Though, we are some way off from its mainstream adoption. Nonetheless, the use of facial recognition in retail is a retail technology trend to watch for in 2018. While it may not be implemented during the year, recognizing a person’s profile who is present in the store and then serving him/her with personalized content digitally is an idea that will get floated a lot in 2018. Not only that, we may even see the introduction of ‘smart glasses’ that can recognize individual customers to complement the facial recognition technology.
There you have it—the six retail technology trends to watch out for in 2018. In addition to the trends mentioned above, there are some other retail technology trends that you need to keep an eye on during the year. So, what are the other retail technology trends to be aware of? You can find out about them by getting in touch with us today!
by Bobby J Davidson
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