Ten Technologies Leading Digital Transformation in Retail
Technology is at the forefront of retail evolution and transformation. Today, we’ll discuss the top ten ways of how it will revolutionize the future of shopping – from the augmented and virtual reality, lighting-fast automated delivery to AI and Machine Learning to do trend forecasting and product stock management.
Analytics to drive personalized offers
Analytics & big data are used by many companies to segment customers and provide them with a unique, personalized experience. Some of the cleverest companies utilize online loyalty schemes where customers can sign up and get incentives, such as discounts and new product launches, as well as exclusive event invites. Now is more important than ever to personalize offers, as people are more careful in their spending due to the effects of the pandemic.
As an example, automotive e-commerce company Stoneacre Motor Group uses analytics to create personalized finance deals, whether that’s prime 0% credit or bad credit financing for people with low credit scores so that all the customers are included and aren’t left out.
Artificial reality – augmented & virtual
There are countless ways to use augmented and virtual reality in stores and online. For example, Burberry has used augmented reality (AR) in collaboration with Google, with customers being able to compare it to real-life objects and understand the size of the product better, as well as see how it looks like in 3D.
Virtual reality is an excellent tool to drive people to the stores, as well as e-commerce and create attention around the brand. In the automotive industry, products presented in the 360 3D views are becoming more popular as customers can inspect the cars more closely, without leaving their house. It’s also possible to select different colors and models.
Integrating digital elements into the stores
It’s becoming more commonplace to have digital elements inside the shops to give customers a well-rounded experience. QR codes are nothing new, but the ways they’re being used are. Across the UK, businesses turned to QR to create a venue check-in system via NHS Covid App. It’s as simple as a tap and records all the information automatically, so people don’t need to go through the process manually.
Providing convenience for the shoppers by integrating it with the digital channels will result in more engagement from the customer and will drive new acquisition too.
A more flexible POS
Traditional POS (Point-of-Sale) systems are rigid and can be pricey. That’s why retailers are adapting to a change with more flexible solutions, such as mPOS (mobile point of sale) that uses a phone or a tablet to complete a transaction wirelessly.
Self-checkouts are also a usual sight in the UK. However, businesses are innovating and creating novel ways to enhance the experience. Take Amazon as an example, they’ve launched a physical shop where people can get their products and simply walk away without going through the checkout process. The money is automatically taken from the account and the customer is then free to walk out.
This type of easy and quick shopping experience will increase as the technology advances & retailers should invest in R&D to ensure that they’re not left behind when it becomes more common.
Automated delivery and ordering process
Automated delivery utilizes technology, such as drones to make contactless delivery. This is especially relevant now, with the increase in demand for such services. The automotive industry has been at the forefront of creating self-driving, autonomous cars, and the delivery future lies here.
Meanwhile, automated ordering makes shopping a bit easier. If you shop at one place frequently, you may be offered a recurring order option that automatically renews without having to manually search and enter details all over again.
Quick delivery within few hours
Certain companies are providing quick delivery as their USP. Same-day delivery doesn’t just cut it – how about a one or two-hour delivery? There is a huge demand to instantly get products and get them now, that’s why Amazon Prime is so successful.
Those that differentiate themselves from the competition by offering a super-quick delivery will get more repeat business. This can be done by utilizing postcodes and offering this fast delivery to certain places that are nearby of the business or even give a guarantee.
Product trend forecast & demand
Utilizing AI and machine learning can help businesses manage the stock better. Rather than relying on people, artificial intelligence can automatically give you a bunch of scenarios and even calculate the probability of how well certain products will sell. They can take things like seasonality and weather into account and predict demand more accurately.
This is especially relevant for supermarkets where the rotation of products is fast and needs to be replenished daily.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a useful digital tool that allows for product tracking, stock management, and theft prevention. It works in a way where RFID tags are put on the products and then the information from the tags can be identified with the readers, it then feeds into a database where records and product information is stored. This is an excellent technology that helps with stock accuracy both online and in-stores. In turn, it ensures that the customers are not frustrated when an item they thought is in stock isn’t available.
Using chatbots will reduce the overhead costs and the need for more staff. They can deal with simple inquiries, such as delivery tracking, getting a refund, or simply asking whether a certain item is in stock.
Since it’s a relatively new technology, you can combine both agents and chatbots to get the best results. As agents can deal with more complicated inquiries that chatbots couldn’t process.
Shopping through voice search
Voice search for shopping hasn’t caught up yet and isn’t mainstream, but that doesn’t mean this will be the case in the future, as technology develops further. Most people use it to shop for groceries or reorder things that they’ve previously purchased.
The challenge is the lack of images, and shopping is a visual experience. Perhaps voice search will improve so much that it can be used in combination with AR, so you can see the products and can order them via voice.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.