Traditionally retail has always been an early adopter of technologies that focused on improving supply chain efficiencies and in-store tracking of the goods. However, the omnichannel and immersive customer experiences are two buzz words that retail industry is fast shifting its gears towards to.
In a digitally connected world, retail stores can’t afford to lag behind investing in technologies that provide for a more personalized shopping experience. We will now take a look at the 3 top trends that are revolutionizing the way retail business is conducted and how digital transformation is shaping the cash-box fortunes at the retail counters:
IoT: For a connected consumer and immersive shopping experience
Early in the days, IoT was just a use case for improving the operational efficiencies across supply chains. With the gradual evolution of technologies right from cloud computing to big data, IoT has a lot to offer for the shoppers. It can improvise customer experience by:
- Offer real-time store inventory to online buyers through reaching out to their devices
- Digital signage can present a plethora of opportunities in the way information is displayed
- Sensors can typically localize the goods whereabouts at the touch of an app or a digital device
- Retail store apps provide for a more localized shopping experience powered by self check-outs
- Smart shelves with sensors enable better control on the inventory with reduced out-of-stock and shrinkage worries
- In-store contextual marketing becomes the norm with IoT
- Beacons or cameras gather customer's age, gender, mood, etc. through facial recognition during the time spent on shopping
AI: Integrating personalization into the customer experience
"AI will provide business users with access to powerful insights before they are available to them, through the use of cognitive interfaces in complex systems, advanced analytics and machine learning technology,” says Forrester principal analyst James McCormick in the company’s Predictions 2017: artificial intelligence will drive the insights revolution report.
AI can potentially transform the retail business through speech recognition, image recognition and chatbots. These AI applications help drive contextual outcomes that are personalized using data like shopper’s buying history, social media engagement history, demographics, products viewed, time spent on the site, etc. This data can help retail companies factor their offerings based on the user’s interest and intent ultimately resulting in higher shopping cart value.
Robotics: Differentiating customer service in the retail
You can understand the importance of robots in retail if you understand Amazon’s robot army is 45000 strong. Robots can primarily assist customers shop in-store through helping them find the products they want to buy, manage store or warehouse inventory like refilling the shelves when a product is out-of-stock or even getting the packages to the customer with the help of drones.