Given that Gartner predicts that global IT spending will reach $4.5 billion by the end of this year. It is evident that firms across various industries, including retail, have made digital technologies a significant priority. But there is a widespread misperception that the shift to e-commerce in the retail sector marks the beginning and end of digital transformation. In a time when in-person purchasing was either risky or impractical, adding a virtual component to business models helped shops survive. Despite this, they still face enormous, seemingly insurmountable difficulties.
According to recent research commissioned, 61% of consumers expect touchless digital technologies in the physical retail experience post-pandemic. 59% of consumers expect improved sensor recognition, and 47% of consumers expect retail spaces to incorporate gesture recognition.
Which alternatives, then, successfully walk the line between innovative and successful? Three products stand out in the crowded retail technology market: brilliant checkout, AR-powered buying, and intelligent inventory management.
For a long time, merchants have struggled to close supply chain gaps. Fortunately, digital technologies, i.e., shopping and restocking experience, are being redefined as more companies use smart shelves or other innovative solutions that combine indoor positioning technologies and AI to detect changes in an item’s position and offer product replacements.
Implementing digital technologies such as intelligent shelves simplifies supply chain management. It provides a more in-depth understanding of the market situation at the moment. Retailers can track which products are in high demand, and which are out of stock rapidly. Even how long customers pick up items before making a purchase. As a result, these solutions simplify inventory management, keep an eye on assets, aid retailers in understanding consumer behavior, and forecast market trends.
AR- Infused Shopping
The ease of using mobile apps to access AR at the palm gamifies the in-store purchasing experience, raising fun, improving the customer experience, and encouraging more in-person purchases. Convenience ought to remain at the core of every multichannel retail strategy, although the world is still evolving swiftly. Consumer brand perception can be improved, and customer retention can rise by incorporating an AR component into in-store activities.
Employing digital technologies like AR-powered shopping features also lightens the pressure on staff. Like intelligent shelves, AR cuts down on time spent on menial chores like inventory management, allowing the team to focus on more critical retail tasks like developing relationships with customers and enhancing the in-store experience’s human component.
Many businesses have had to negotiate an increasingly unique labor market over the past few years. Unfortunately, more than any other business sector, persistent labor shortages have wreaked havoc on brick-and-mortar enterprises. Trending technologies, such as QR codes and palm- and face-recognition software, help address these problems in unexpected ways.
Example: A revolutionary shopping experience powered by computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, Amazon’s Just Walk Out alters retail settings. Innovative digital technologies and checkout innovations like Just Walk Out increase customer and shop employee convenience while enhancing personal safety.
Creating a frictionless digital in-store experience
It will be advantageous to include digital technologies that replicate the internet purchasing experience and necessitate less face-to-face interaction. Customers may maintain an uninterrupted connection between their online behaviors and them in-store experiences, thanks to them. In addition to enhancing their lives, this will produce a distinctive and tailored purchasing experience that will give the retailer complete control over how their customers behave both online and in-store.
Customers will be able to more easily witness the results of a product’s use thanks to the different use of augmented reality in a showroom setting. This allows customers to comprehend how they will use a thing rather than how it seems in a display.
Facing consumer expectations
Customers want assurances from retailers that they are paying attention to their requirements and preferences. 79% of customers expected or hoped that retailers would improve current digital technologies to provide goods and services more effectively. Meanwhile, 83% of consumers expected or hoped that retailers would adopt new digital solutions to offer goods and services.
When we discovered that 74% of consumers think businesses adopting touchless technologies care about their customers, this became even more pertinent.
Beyond their own experiences, there is an even deeper expectation of caring. 95% of customers want proof that businesses are concerned about the security and welfare of their workers. The long-term appreciation of the retailer’s brand is facilitated by the use of digital technologies to create a more virtual and secure working environment.
Bridging the gap
The expectations raised by the pandemic are causing the distance between the internet and retail spaces to close faster. Consumers now have expectations for a world that is driven by digital technologies and a desire for a more automated and customized in-store retail experience. Retailers can stay ahead of the next wave of consumer behavior and integrate the two worlds, digital and in-store, in a way we’ve never seen before by focusing on using cutting-edge in-store technology and being sympathetic to your consumers’ demands. And as always, the businesses that arrive first will be the most prosperous.
In an industry that has previously been labeled as a digital laggard, technology is finally a primary priority as retailers everywhere adapt their business models for the digital era. Retail leaders, however, need to realize that digital transformation goes far beyond the switch to e-commerce. Additionally, they must assess whether innovations will change how customers shop in-store.
As technical platforms grow, digital technologies and virtual shopping will continue to advance and get better. Reevaluating your business’s digital strategy and putting Omni channel platforms in place are now the only ways to stay relevant in the modern retail industry. Retailers are well-equipped with a sure-fire road to effective digital transformation by implementing these three critical technologies.