Few verticals have seen such massive changes as retail in recent years. Driven by fierce competition and significant changes in customer expectations, retail businesses are striving to align with an evolving landscape, with IT playing a crucial role in their ability to achieve this.
To provide customers with an accessible, transparent and engaging shopping experience, retail IT leaders must design revenue-driven strategies that leverage cutting-edge technology to meet present and future business needs.
Here are three technology trends retail IT leaders need to embrace to create value for both their organization and their customers.
These days, customer experience is king. To ensure a richer, smoother shopping experience, retail IT managers must reduce any friction that could hinder smooth transactions. This means providing a seamless first contact online or in-store, removing any hassle of adding products to a virtual or physical cart, and making checkout processes intuitive and easy to complete.
To meet this need, leading retail CIOs are deploying innovative, frictionless technology solutions that produce a queue-free grab-and-go experience. These solutions leverage the latest advances in IoT, scales and cameras to minimize or even eliminate friction because they can accurately track the items customers add to their carts and charge them when they leave the store.
Brands such as Sam’s Club, 7-Eleven, Amazon, Wheelys 247 and Albertsons already offer their customers a checkout-free shopping experience.
According to RBR London 2022 Study on Mobile Self-Scanning and Payless Payment, the number of stores using cashierless technology worldwide has tripled. From 250 such stores in 2021, the study predicts that this number will reach 12,000 by 2027.
With the increase in online shopping, identity theft and payment fraud have also increased. By deploying fraud prevention solutions, retailers can avoid chargebacks. This helps build customer trust and further enhances frictionless retail. The results of such a fast, efficient, smooth and consistent customer journey are increased footfall and higher revenue.
Faced with rapidly changing customer preferences and increased competition, retailers are increasingly turning to AI to help them solve complex problems and make decisions faster. From major fashion brands to commodity stores to grocery stores, all retailers are looking to apply algorithms to improve their bottom lines, especially in the areas of omnichannel retailing, demand forecasting and predictive analytics.
By applying algorithms to better predict market fluctuations and demand, retailers are better positioned to solve one of the biggest challenges in retail: inventory management, stocking the right products based on the market situation. walk.
For example, Eden, Walmart’s AI solution, leverages machine learning to optimize inventory levels and predict demand in its stores. This helped the company reduce out-of-stock episodes by up to 30%, while reducing waste and overstocking.
By running algorithms on big data collected from various sources, retailers can intelligently predict what customers will buy and in what order. Grocery stores, for example, can plan their inventory based on weather conditions, customer shopping habits and geolocation. And by better understanding customer shopping habits through algorithmic analysis, they can optimize store layouts for better navigation and increased sales, for example by stocking fresh vegetables in advance, followed by bread to spread, then beer at the end.
Online retailers such as Alibaba and Amazon are known for leveraging algorithmic retailing to provide their customers with real-time recommendations, based on their browsing activity. They also send relevant emails, advertisements and texts. Many retailers are also following suit.
Today’s customers want to have a complete understanding of a product before purchasing it. Immersive shopping meets these needs by creating interactive experiences for customers, increasing their chances of completing the purchase. Additionally, investing more time with a product increases their familiarity with your brand.
As a result, leading retail CIOs are using technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and machine learning to deliver 3D visualizations, virtual showrooms, and AR mirrors for a more immersive shopping experience. enriching and more satisfying.
Realistic 3D visualizations give a good idea of how a product will look from different angles. This helps overcome customers’ fear that the actual product will be different from what it appears on the website.
Real estate and automobile companies are using virtual showrooms, which allow customers to tour apartments and automobiles respectively from the comfort of their homes.
Outlets offering wearable products such as watches, clothing, jewelry or makeup use augmented reality mirrors because a large number of customers want to try these products before purchasing online.
As customers look for more engaging ways to shop, digital, experiential and immersive environments will become imperative for retailers.