6 Pivotal Tech-Powered Strategies Shaping the Future of Retail
By Multidev Technologies · PUBLISHED July 12, 2022
Retail is being disrupted by technology, much like almost every other sector of the economy. While online e-commerce has grown rapidly in recent years, brick-and-mortar retail remains an essential part of the modern consumer landscape. And yet there are many indications that traditional brick-and-mortar retail will continue to be impacted by digital innovation.
As more consumers shop online and mobile devices become standard, retailers that adapt their strategies to leverage the latest technologies stand to benefit significantly compared to their competitors. This article explores six technology strategies that will shape the future of retail and help you thrive in this new era.
1. Personalization Experiences
Retailers will need to become more customer-centric in their strategies in the future. Personalization, online, in-store, and marketing experiences for every customer, regardless of their use of technology or the brand of device used. Customers can purchase items without standing in line, thanks to self-checkout terminals, mobile apps, and computer vision technology that allows them to pick up items and leave. Find out what works for your customers. Consumers want to shop both online and in stores. If you don’t provide curbside pickup and delivery yet, you should do so immediately.
AI and voice-activated technologies can help guide customers to the products they are looking for, tell them where they are in the store, and point out products they might like but don’t know exist. Leveraging AI technologies to guide customers through a personalized experience will become increasingly important as the retail industry becomes more accessible to disabled and elderly customers.
To ensure transparency and control for the consumer, the governance process and consent tools manage how information is collected, when it can be used, and for what purpose.
2. Virtual and Augmented Reality for Marketing and Merchandising
As consumers look to the internet for product information and reviews, and as online shopping increases, many retailers are exploring augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) as marketing and merchandising tools. Many brands have already used AR and VR to showcase products, some of which have even created apps that allow customers to virtually try on clothes or test drive cars. Such tools are especially useful when showcasing seasonal products, as they can help retailers make the most of limited shelf space by visually displaying more products in a limited area. VR could also be useful in designing new stores, as retailers can “walk-around” a new location virtually to see if it will be conducive to business. VR could also be helpful in remodeling old stores, as retailers can virtually see how a new layout might work before making any physical changes.
3. Advanced Analytic and Data Capabilities
Use next-gen tools to deliver predictive and prescriptive recommendations and keep data relevant and current. Retailers must also find ways to efficiently store and process consumer data for better marketing, merchandising, and inventory decisions. Some retailers are already working with blockchain technology to store customer data, which allows for better security and privacy.
The velocity at which new data is acquired is one of Big Data’s characteristics. It keeps coming. Because of this, retailers must make the right investment for continuous improvement of their data. Having the latest insights can enable them to make the right decisions instantly and stay ahead of the curve.
4. A Unified View of the Customer
Integrate data across all channels. Organize a single, 360-degree view of your consumer across all brands: This will benefit you in two simple ways. Instead of being limited to transactional, two-way dialogues (one consumer buying one brand), the entire company can leverage cross-brand insights and knowledge. In addition, it can find a way to keep consumers engaged throughout their journey.
5. Bridging Digital and In-Store Experiences
Converting stores into omnichannel environments. Whether it’s fun, sustainable, convenient, or all three, be sure to test new digital features that inspire online and in-store shoppers.
As retailers focus more on digital marketing, the in-store experience could be negatively impacted. Retailers can bridge the gap between their online and in-store strategies by leveraging technologies such as beacons or sensors that can help provide customers with relevant product or service information while in the store. Employees can also use wearable devices such as smartwatches to receive information about customers, such as their location in the store, product preferences, and purchase history. This can help employees better serve customers and ensure they have what they need before they check out.
6. Loyalty Programs That Uniquely Fit Customers
Loyalty programs are important to retain customers and encourage repeat purchases. Retailers will need to ensure that their loyalty programs are modern and relevant and that they provide value to customers. This means that loyalty programs will need to evolve to meet the needs of today’s increasingly digital and mobile customers, moving away from traditional points programs.
Shoppers seek more value for their money as inflation rises, and loyalty programs are the way to present this value. Learn what value your shoppers want most and add that benefit to your program ASAP.
Retailers can leverage data collected from customer transactions and social media interactions to create more personalized loyalty programs. Programs that are personalized based on each customer’s preferences and buying habits will be more appealing to customers than one-size-fits-all programs.
Retailers who adapt their technology strategies to take advantage of the latest technologies have everything to gain over their competitors. This means embracing new technologies while making the changes that will integrate these new technologies into the retail experience. For example, to fully realize AR and VR’s potential, retailers must ensure that their websites are VR and AR ready and that their in-store experiences also incorporate these technologies. This may involve installing new AR-enabled displays or kiosks or simply ensuring that employees are trained to use these technologies effectively when customers enter the store.
Invest in and focus on technologies that can reduce the amount of work required and make better use of limited labor, such as having store associates assist customers rather than wait in line at the register or take inventory. As technology becomes a key driver of business, human workers must retrain, upskill and reinvent themselves to adapt to the future of work ahead.
Sustainability must be a priority now and in the future. From eliminating food waste to developing electric logistics fleets, the grocery industry must recognize its power to shape all of our future.
To fully harness the power of next-generation technology to engage, win and retain customers, retailers must now identify and invest in the right retail technology. Now is the time to make bold strategic choices and take steps to implement them. Request a free live demo with our software experts to ensure the technology is right for the future.