Retail is a very dynamic industry which has its own multifaceted and assorted business requirements and processes. Retailers today have all sorts of challenges when it comes to tackling multiple innovative technologies and the demanding customer who likes to order products or services using multiple touch points as per their convenience. In a quickly changing environment such as this, retailers are expected to continuously change their business strategy. Innovation is where all the focus lies today. There are so many new store formats launched with many selling channels such as online/mobile, mail catalogs and kiosks.
Keeping transformation in mind here are a few emerging technology trends in retail which will continue shaking things up:
All-channel Customer Experience
Innovative technologies have changed the face of retail. Adding new selling channels is the first step in a retailer’s journey with the focus being on providing an all-channel experience.
For retailers, this means bringing synergy and orchestration across the business and operation domains, not only the technology. All-channel also means empowering sales channels to enable greater cross-channel activities like click and collect, buy online and collect in store, accept returns and refunds for online products.
The goal here is to use inter-connected technology while adding a human service element in order to reach digital customers.
Using technology in-store is among the freshest trends. Retailers are now using Wi-Fi, beacons and mobile apps. Social media is used for targeting customers with special offers. Improvements in payment processes are currently underway to make them agile so customers can beat the queues with mobile wallets, mobile PoS (Point id Sale).
Customers and Big Data
The importance of handling customer and web analytics data is known to retailers already. But data has grown exponentially now because of social networks. Retailers now face a huge challenge in understanding and using the data since most of it is unstructured. Data initiatives are used for improving merchandising, e-commerce, marketing and promotions, supply chain, etc. Data projects include things like targeting potential customers using offers and predictive analytics.
Meeting customer expectations with regard to product or service delivery, reducing wait times at home with real-time delivery options, email, SMS notifications, etc. is very important. Route optimization and advance workforce scheduling, as well as the development of delivery options through various channels, can help with this.
Inventory Management & Order Execution
Out of stock, situations aren't going to be a problem for much longer. Improving the breadth of variety by fulfilling orders directly from inventory locations in order to cut down on the loss of sale is the perfect solution. Integrating third parties into the e-commerce channel to make use of their logistics & supply chain to guarantee deliveries through a wider distribution network helps as well.
Upgrading E-commerce Platforms
Fulfilling future aspirations like single click checkouts, PayPal integration, etc. as alternative methods of payments can introduce much more flexibility which will improve customer usability, experience, etc. Integrating social media with direct businesses is a fresh trend. Customers can now pin interests on Pinterest and make purchases right away.