A notable change brought about by the pandemic has been the need for retailers to digitally transform. Retailers large and small are now adopting and implementing new digital retail technologies to realize operational efficiencies, meet customer needs, overcome labor shortages and more.
However, it can be difficult to understand what kinds of retail technology trends are taking the industry by storm. Keep reading to learn more about the top retail technology trends and their impact on the industry in the remaining months of 2022.
In-store shopping in physical stores is becoming more and more focused on customer experience in addition to sales. Stores now have to compete with online retailers, who are convenient and affordable, to deliver exceptional service to anyone who walks through the door. Retailers can use new technologies to improve their CX and fuel their experiential retail strategy.
For example, some stores are experimenting with augmented and virtual reality for their customer experience. TOMS shoe brand used VR in 100 storesvirtually transporting customers to Peru to see the positive effects of TOMS’ social impact campaign.
As the name suggests, contactless stores use state-of-the-art technology to enable a seamless, contactless shopping experience. The goal is to minimize the amount of contact or friction a customer would typically encounter in a traditional store. One of the best-known examples of a contactless store is Amazon Go.
Amazon Go sites use advanced Just Walk Out technology, including computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Customers scan a barcode to enter the store, pick up the items they need, and exit. The technology monitors what people take out of the shelves and adds them to a customer’s virtual shopping cart. After leaving the store, they pay using a pre-saved payment method.
Discussions about the metaverse have been in the news lately, especially in the big tech industry. Famous technology leader Mark Zuckerberg supposedly imagined that around one billion people would use Metaverse in the future. It will be a central hub built around retail and social connections.
While the Metaverse isn’t mainstream yet, some brands are getting a head start. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton launches Louis Le Jeu — a mobile game with unique, integrated and exclusive NFTs. Retailers wishing to establish a presence in the metaverse will need new IT skills either in-house or from high-performing established vendors.
Many e-commerce businesses are leveraging marketing automation technologies to manage routine tasks so that human marketers can spend time on high-level projects. For instance, marketing automation programs are capable of:
- Registration of customer information
- Organization of customers into segments
- Send automated emails or other marketing messages
- Show ads to customers based on the segments they are in
- Analyze customer habits, preferences and demographics
Marketing automation solutions can help retailers increase conversion rates and sales, among other benefits. This automation is essentially profitable when retailers use it, so it’s a trending retail technology that many expect to see grow.
- Buy online, pick up in store
One trend that has taken retail by storm at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is the buy online, pick up in store model. For this business model to work, retailers need to implement certain technologies for their operations and end users. Customers need to be able to browse a retail website and see what products are available in real time, order their products, and pick up their orders within the same day.
Therefore, retailers need to gain visibility into their inventory, which may require them to use inventory and supply chain management solutions. Additionally, stores need to have a mobile app and an established online presence for this model to work successfully. BOPIS retailers can also enhance CX using augmented reality, geolocation, or perimeter sensors.
This is another retail trend that is forcing businesses to take advantage of new technologies. According to McKinsey, customer personalization will be a main driver of marketing success in the next five years.
For example, companies like Macy’s, Starbucks, and Sephora use GPS technology to send customers relevant ads, notifications, or discounts if they’re near a store. Some offer sellers apps that automatically generate personalized recommendations for customers.
Retailers need to know which technologies could deliver the best return on investment, lead to higher conversion rates and increase revenue for the remainder of 2022.
Use retail technology trends to guide investment decisions
The past two years have been unprecedented and unexpected for the retail industry. Retailers have had to deal with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing supply chain disruptions, and ever-changing customer expectations and behaviors.
As a result, the pandemic has accelerated the retail sector’s need to embrace digital technologies. Retailers should refer to the list above to decide which technologies could benefit their business the most.
Devin Partida writes about AI, apps and technology at ReHack.comof which she is editor-in-chief.