Will 2018 be the Defining Year of Retail Technology Trends?
In recent years, we have seen a significant shift in retail technology from invention-led spending to solutions geared to customer-driven, end-to-end value. Even with these massive leaps forward, disruption continues to bring improvements in productivity and efficiency, providing boundless opportunities for the digitally-minded enterprise.
Over the next few years, trends in technology are expected to support business innovation and competitive advantage, but it will also usher in new business models that will change the way we do everything in business. Maturing technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and augmented reality (AR) will form the foundations for this new landscape, driving behaviors and efficiencies of which we have only just started to scratch the surface.
What will be the defining retail technology trends of 2018?
Smart stores are starting to dominate the world of luxury retail. The in-store customer experience is necessarily getting more creative, offering smart mirrors, smart dressing rooms, mobile checkout, and more. Powered by AI and augmented reality (AR), shoppers are enjoying a more personalized experience both in the store and at home. At home, they can enjoy AI purchasing assistance and virtual fitting rooms, while in the store, smart dressing rooms streamline and personalize the buying journey.
Omnichannel ensures that customers are served with a consistent message and support across multiple channels, from the first interactions with a website or social media channel to the final purchase and beyond. It is not new, per se, but in 2018, it is certainly hitting its stride. Customer expectations are such that any online or offline business should have an omnichannel strategy in place or risk losing their clientele.
Near-Field Communication (NFC)
On the heels of beacons comes Near-Field Communication, or NFC. NFC represents another way for retailers to collect data and an added opportunity to better serve their customers. NFC smart tags can be embedded into packaging or displays, where the customer will decide when and how to interact with them. With a long list of capabilities from delivering product information to accepting payments from a customer’s smartphone, it drives value on both sides of the counter.
Smart shopping carts
While many retail stores are already leveraging mobile payments, smart shopping carts can take this trend to a new level. GPS-driven carts are equipped with touch screens that allow shoppers to locate items in the store from their own shopping lists. They can then check out and pay as they go, helping the shopper to avoid the check-out line and head straight for the car.
Electronic shelf edge labels
Currently, store personnel must physically change shelf talkers on each product as they restock. Electronic shelf edge labels lend the ability to change prices in real-time, promote specials, reduce human error and time spent on manual pricing.
While these are just a handful of retail technology trends driving disruption in 2018, they are significant in that we will soon be seeing more of them. If you would like to learn more about how technology can transform your retail operations, reach out today.