From pandemic-induced disruptions to rapidly changing consumer habits, the retail industry has undergone significant reorganization in recent years. The exponential growth of e-commerce has led many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to diversify their services and offerings omnichannel purchasing options, such as social media and buy online, collect in store (BOPIS). The offline sector has faced significant disruption as footfall has dropped significantly due to the pandemic. Increasingly, we also see customer experience as key to staying ahead of the competition. In competitive markets, retailers must not only focus on profitability, but also on providing excellent and personalized customer experiences to ensure sustainable growth of the company.
From customer experiences to supply chains, here are some tech trends set to dominate retail in 2022.
Experiential retail through augmented and virtual reality
The narrative surrounding retail has now shifted to prioritize not just sales, but the entire customer experience. Customers are not only drawn to high-quality products, but also to retail experiences that evoke a sense of well-being. The rise of the term “retail therapy” also reflects this. The rise of online retail has created a need to create immersive and personalized experiences in virtual environments. The rise of technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality has made it possible to replicate offline experiences in online environments. The metaverse has become a buzzword, with experts predicting a future where customers can visit their favorite stores, browse the shelves, enter test rooms and buy the items they want, all while sitting in comfort from their room. Other examples of the same include furniture stores allowing customers to see what the items they choose look like in their actual homes, and eyewear brands allowing customers to virtually try on their products before buying them. .
Personalized Shopping Experiences
From push notifications that start with the customer’s name, to a customer service manager handing you a cup of tea while you shop for clothes, customer experience plays an important role in improving brand recall and creation of a community of loyal customers. The best brands don’t view customer experience as a transactional experience, but rather strive to create a community that then speaks for it. Today, AI algorithms can predict a customer’s exact preferences and previous shopping habits to provide personalized recommendations. Chat-bots can also add a personal touch to the online shopping experience and enable real-time resolution of queries or issues. Understanding different customer touchpoints and using AI-powered analytics and personalization can help create a personalized and memorable customer experience.
Autonomous last mile delivery
The recent e-commerce boom and the need for faster delivery times to stay competitive has forced retailers to reassess and optimize their last mile delivery strategy. Autonomous mobility has gained significant importance in this respect. Although it is at a relatively nascent stage in India, research and deployment is moving at a rapid pace with the 2022 budget also emphasizing drone as a service. We can expect to see significant growth in forms of autonomous mobility like drones and last-mile delivery robots in the coming years. Technologies such as deep learning can enable autonomous systems to successfully navigate a multitude of scenarios and enable faster and safer package delivery.
Customer experience analysis
Retailers are increasingly realizing the importance of data analytics in building profitable, resilient and scalable businesses. AI-powered analytics deliver actionable insights from every touchpoint of the sales funnel, enabling retailers to not only deliver personalized experiences, but also engage in sentiment analysis to enable the adequacy of the product market to new products. For example, NLP-based tools can analyze voice over customer service calls to create consumer sentiment insights, which can then be analyzed for better understanding of the target market and personalized customer service to increase satisfaction. and customer loyalty.
As an influx of new brands enters the market and consumption patterns change rapidly, retailers must balance the need to refresh inventory at a rapid pace, while minimizing dead stock and wastage. . A wave of digital transformation has overtaken every industry, and retail has also been no exception. Various new technologies have changed the way businesses do business and in many cases retailers are being forced to digitize their operations or go out of business. By incorporating the latest technological advancements into their operations, retailers can ensure that they stay ahead of the game, rather than constantly trying to catch up with competitors and suffer losses as a result. One thing is certain: technology will revolutionize the retail industry in the years to come, and the companies that take advantage of it can become market leaders.