The retail technology trends are rapidly changing. According to Accenture, it is predicted that there will be more change in the next 10 years of the retail industry than there was for the last forty.
The key for the retail industry is, therefore, to determine how they will embrace and adapt to the technological changes. Retailers who are able to do so will remain the most competitive in their field. Below, we’ve prepared 6 “in vogue” retail technology trends that you need to watch for in 2018.
Retail Technology Trend #1: Artificial Intelligence
A growing trend across many industries at this time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact on the way that retail organizations will conduct business. AI has made its way into the retail industry by helping retailers to create effective consumer experiences. It has the capability to understand consumer needs, help consumers navigate sites quicker, and improve inventory management to ensure stores are maintaining an appropriate amount of inventory on hand. Want to retain a competitive advantage? Look into ways to incorporate AI systems to better understand your consumers’ needs and build from there.
#Retailers, want to retain a competitive advantage? Look into ways that you can incorporate #AISystems to better understand your consumers’ needs & build from there. #RetailTechTrends2018
Retail Technology Trend #2: Personalizing Your Customer Experience (CX)
How do you feel when you walk into your favorite coffee shop and the barista behind the counter recognizes you and calls you by your first name? In 2018, the concept of personalizing your customers’ shopping experiences is going to grow. In fact, if a business fails to personalize their communications, 52% of their customers will likely switch brands, and research has shown that, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. To ensure consistent and personalized customer experience, your digital and physical touchpoints will need to work together.
One way you can do so is to deliver a more customized shopping experience by improving the ways your sales associates help digital customers. In a recent study, 87% of shoppers say their in-store purchase decisions are influenced by store associates, but more than half of shoppers feel that this service is lacking online. One way you can do this is by implementing the right technology for cashiers, sales associates, and store managers so that they can create, innovate, and collaborate with one another to assist customers. The right technology helps your staff utilize essential tools like live chat on the website, mobile apps, and personalized landing pages. Contact us to learn about a special package designed for your firstline workers like cashiers, sales associates, and store managers.
By 2020, #CustomerExperience will overtake price & product as a key brand differentiator. Implement the right #Technology for cashiers, associates & store managers, to enable them to deliver a more customized shopping experience. #RetailTechTrends2018
Retail Technology Trend #3: Intelligent Retail Solutions
Intelligent Retail Solutions, such as connected fitting rooms, artificial intelligence, and near field communications, are another retail technology trend to watch out for in 2018. Virtual Reality is one of the ways to embrace Intelligent Retail Solutions. How? Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite, created for retailers, can help your customers sample different product features from virtual catalogues, or help retail planners and merchandisers visualize designs, share plans and collaborate with others, draw inspiration, or walk through floorplans, all before they’re built. The video below shows an example of a team setting up a physical space for a product unveil using HoloLens technology.
Retail Technology Trend #4: Make Use of Big Data to Flesh Out Your Loyalty Programs
Are you currently tracking and utilizing important customer data, like how your customers shop, and what their shopping habits are? The ability to collect and analyze Big Data is a major game-changer for the retail industry, especially when you use that data to flesh out a customer loyalty program. Building up a customer loyalty program that operates across all channels and provides a full-circle view of your customer, including their purchasing behaviour, will help you address your customer on a one-on-one basis and provide them with relevant offers that are more likely to entice them into shopping with you.
But, the amount of data we’re talking about can be overwhelming, so it’s important to understand where to start. How do you use the data you’re collecting effectively? Our recommendation is to try a Business Intelligence tool like Power BI to efficiently analyze all the data you have. Power BI analyzes, organizes, and presents the data in a way that you can productively digest and consume.
Microsoft Power BI Live Demo
Our BI team will be happy to provide you with consulting and performing a complimentary live demo of Power BI so that you can see how you and your team can utilize it in the most efficient way
Retail Technology Trend #5: Continued Cybersecurity Concerns
The last decade has seen retailers investing significant time and money into cybersecurity technology, and this trend is not likely to die down in 2018. Cybersecurity, just like in any other industries, remains the retail industry’s number one area of concern. Have you seen the retail giants like Home Depot and Target in the news for security breaches? They are not the only targets. Cybercriminals do not discriminate. In fact, recently, two Ontario children’s aid societies were hit by ransomware attacks. If they were attacked, any organization, regardless of the industry they are in, could wind up as a target.
#Cybercriminals do not discriminate. Point-of-sale security, #DataManagement and encryption, network tools, and web security tools will help protect #Retailers from potential breaches. #RetailTechTrends2018
Investing in point-of-sale security, data management and encryption, network tools, and web security tools are an important part of moving forward and protecting yourself from potential breaches. Not sure where to start? Conducting a cost-efficient Cybersecurity Assessment that gives you a clear picture of your security status and recommendations on how you can reduce your cybersecurity risks is a good place to start. There is funding available that you can apply to your assessment, which makes it affordable and attractive. Talk to us to find out more.
Retail Technology Trend #6: Switching to Cloud-Hosted Software
The retail industry spent over $15 billion on Cloud technology in 2016, and that number is going to continue to grow. And it’s no wonder why – the Cloud has been proven to be more cost-efficient, more agile, more flexible, and more scalable than other solutions on the market today. Plus, with no servers or hardware to maintain on-site, or software that needs manual updates, the Cloud allows retailers to get away with a smaller IT force.
Cloud capabilities are especially important to your firstline workers (i.e. your store managers, sales associates, and cashiers). Giving them the right tools and technology to connect to each other digitally empowers them and increases your organization’s overall productivity.
Where to start? To lower your cost as much as possible and have your journey to the Cloud as efficient as possible, start with a solid plan and roadmap that works for your organization. Talk to us if you are interested. We will walk you through the process.