Retail Technology Trends to Watch in 2018

In the age of Technology, customer expectations are higher than never. The Retail Industry is no exception to this with consumers increasingly becoming more demanding driven by adoption of social networking platforms and IoT technologies.
Enhancing customer experience
To compete in today’s market retailers are required to reimagine and innovate the way they connect, transact and engage with their customers. And this market responsiveness is completely dependent on IT organizations that can deliver next-generation technology and services. Retailers are trying new ways to understand how consumers search, shop and buy their products. Retailers are using this information in order to devise new retail models, be it having a showroom or an e-commerce platform.

Artificial Intelligence
It helps retailers in personalization customer’s shopping experience. Instant availability chatbots will become more common to manage customer inquiries and also to make intelligent purchase recommendations. With AI, retailers will get access to real-time customer data that helps to deliver personalized, customized and localized shopping experiences. As time goes by AI will be applied to the entire retail product cycle, starting from manufacturing to POS. It will provide retailers scope to anticipate and guide shoppers in a highly personalized manner. In the coming days, new collaborations will emerge between retailers and technology companies to design a customized solution suitable for a particular retail setup.

Voice Technology
Consumers are constantly using voice search to browse and purchase products. The technology has become more advanced on mobile with devices like the Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Home Pod. With close to 20 million smart speakers available in the market is a clear indicator that voice-based shopping is on the rise and this number is all set to grow rapidly. Consumers are also increasingly using voice search to find stores of their choices and to inquire about their product queries. There is a need for a right voice search strategy for retailers to optimize their site for local and voice search optimization.

Optimizing Mobile
Retailers are customizing their mobile online shopping experience by building responsive websites that can adjust with as per the device the consumer is using. Not only are customers using mobiles online shop but are extensively using to make an online payment. In the coming days, customers will prefer using technologies like Apple Pay rather than carrying credit cards in their wallets to buy products using digital wallets on their phones.
In the long term, there is a need to integrate mobile with other technologies to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers. With the coming of age of contactless payments and other transaction methods, the potential of mobile to provide online and offline shopping experiences is huge.

The Internet of Things
This technology has the capability to physically connect to the internet and provide unstoppable shopping experience. It will completely revolutionize the in-store experience bridging the gap between physical and digital shopping experience. IoT helps retailers by providing video analytics and facial recognition technology required to create shopper profiles which provide retailers to individualize customer shopping experience. There are multiple products available in a retail store and at the moment, retailers have to update product prices with printed labels sold in-store. With IoT, retailers have the option of adapting to electronic labels which allows updating all product information via the internet.

Conclusion -:
TO is no secret that the future of retail requires a tremendous amount of innovation, adaptability contemplation and planning to keep customers satisfied. The rapid changes in technology trends are causing a huge disruption in the retail shopping experience and have no choice to the retailers, but to take the changes in their stride as they try to build a sustainable future retail business model.

– Pavan Mudholkar,
Sr Research Analyst,
Infoholic Research