The retail sector has undergone numerous transformations, especially in recent years, which is the reason it’s pivotal that in the midst of this winding of change retailers figure out how to adjust to the new shopping habits of customers.
Unlike other sectors where the principle objective is to be profitable, in the retail sector the focal point of 2022 movements to achieving an excellent and personalized customer experience.
The most recent couple of months have further accelerated the digital change, and customer habits have shifted towards omnichannel shopping and ecommerce. This means that it is essential to understand where these trends are heading and what are the keys to making a business competitive in the future.
The retail sector is an economic sector that refers to the sector in charge of giving labor and products to the last consumer. It is the business generally closely linked to utilization, uniting companies, traders, items, and consumers.
The clearest examples are supermarkets, shops, and bookstores.
Digital Transformation of the Retail Sector
As mentioned above, consumer habits have changed more quickly and essentially in recent years, and this means that retailers can get caught in more customary habits. Companies genuinely must see and understand the new trends and how digitalization can become their best partner.
In the United States alone, e-commerce grew more than three times faster from 2019 to 2020 than over the most recent five years, which translates to undeniably more consumers currently buying items before attempting them.
For customary retailers to construct stronger and more memorable relationships with their customers, it is essential to create a stronger brand and offer a better immersive customer experience based on digitization.
By relying on technology, business decisions are improved fully intent on increasing sales, on account of the analysis of millions of data in real-time, the commitment to disruptive proposition, convenient and simple payment methods, or robotizing processes are only some of the recommendations to become a savvy, profitable and future-evidence retailer.
Technology Applied to the Retail Sector.
We are confronting an omnichannel customer that demands personalized experiences.
Therefore, our challenge should be to be able to predict consumer behavior and the chance of fulfilling these needs in a simple manner and at the time the user demands.
Technology has become responsible for making this possible, and the accompanying ones are the ones that will shape the future of the retail sector.
Predicting Demand with AI
One of the biggest challenges for retailers is to improve stock attaching. Presently the Artificial Intelligence arrangements make it possible to screen item turnover in real-time, as well as to analyze the buying circumstance.
Acquainting AI makes it possible with react rapidly to ensure the accessibility of merchandise of certain items depending on the parameters that trigger the purchase, like the weather, for example.
A forecast of snowfall should mean that we have items in stock as per these circumstances.
Another central issue in retail is operations, going from cleaning to reconfiguring layouts for customer and employee safety. Data analysis is key to overseeing and predicting costs, expanding worker for hire value, or documenting cleaning and safety measures.
Over-data or unstructured data can lead to the opposite of the expected result. The right analysis takes into consideration a 360° view of customers and the correct understanding and improvement of business decisions.
Responsive Shopping and Payment Methods
In Europe alone, digital wallets have spread to more than 20,000 shops and 31% of Europeans are expected to use the digital wallet on their mobile device.
The future of the retail sector likewise lies in 2.0 shops with warning staff and automated checkouts.
The front-end can now be separated from the back-end, enabling retailers to carry out new models and functionalities in their shops more rapidly.
Shoppers demand more choice in the checkout process and should be given the capacity to choose how they interact with the retail location, from how they pay, to how they view data, to how they locate the item.
Implementing AI to automate operations is essential today, whether it’s for verifying identification when customers purchase age-restricted items, reordering processes for low stock, recording serial numbers, modifying item samples as per the customer… The possibilities are endless.
We can likewise apply it for marketing, where customer data can be collected to encourage an increase in their purchases.
This collection of data can be translated into data-backed crusades that can be automated, for example, correspondences or the send off of offers based on faithfulness to our image.
The presentation of robots into a business has been a huge game-changer for companies that are involving them for in-house item delivery. By snapping a picture they can deliver the order to the required area.
Many stores and supermarkets (Walmart, UPS, Hyundai… ) have incorporated robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles into their premises or supply chains to save exponentially on expenses and time.
On account of 5G and Machine Learning, these types of proposition are beginning to become more relevant.
Voice Commerce and Chatbot
The latest breakthroughs in NLP (Natural Language Processing) have made it possible for voice collaborators to become a great partner for retail. By 2025, the US is expected to have more than 77 million households with savvy home devices, so there is great potential for the retail sector.
IoT devices can listen to the voice of the consumer and respond as needs be, helping customers observe items and make purchases. Chatbots are a very useful apparatus for answering questions online in real-time, saving a ton of time in customer service.
The “beacon network” or BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) applications permit brands and retailers to understand exactly where a customer is in the actual shop to offer them a personalized experience consistently.
Carrefour is an example of the implementation of this technology, on which they rely so their correspondences are key for their customers when making a purchase.
This improves the customer experience, as well as generating personalized offers and limits as indicated by the type of shopper. Retailers are able to study and understand their customers’ needs and interact with them on account of innovative technological apparatuses.
It’s one of the trends that is acquiring momentum in all sectors, including retail. Consumers are putting more and more importance on the ethical values associated with a brand, and shopping is moving towards a greener trend.
Sustainable and disruptive technology facilitates the creation of a more balanced future without forfeiting efficiency or business development.
Moving to a Cloud model, choosing digitalization to generate less waste, and further developing processes utilizing Computer Vision or Big Data to minimize costs and maximize creation are only a few examples.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
As per a Google survey on consumer habits, 66% of consumers are interested in utilizing Augmented and Virtual Reality apparatuses when shopping.
3D representations, item samples, or virtual testers are perfect for customers to attempt items from anywhere before settling on a ultimate conclusion, something that additionally translates into reduced return rates and increased conversion rates.
Large multinationals, for example, Ikea or L’óreal have joined this trend so they can see how furniture would examine their room, with the chance of personalizing it or seeing how to place stands or items in 3D.