Retail is certainly a cut-throat industry that is progressing at a break-neck speed as retailers are slowly discovering the beauty of amalgamating technology and retail know-how’s. Yet, this wasn’t always the case as technology was once seen as a hindrance and not an ally. With time, retailers learnt that success depends on how well one does against the competition and technology is an important game changer. So, without further dithering, let’s dive into trends that have set things for retail:
Augmented reality has always been in contention, post circa-00’s, capturing the interests of enthusiasts all around. Of late, it has experienced a surge in popularity, with the wake of the Pokemon Go craze, with retailers moving proactively to capitalize on the trend. Retailers will likely continue adopting strategies that leverage Augmented Reality yet it’s important to elucidate the utility of the above, without falling into the gimmicky terrain. The tech must, in some way, deliver a utility to shoppers while keep profit buoyant.
Big data and Customer
Balancing the customer data and web analytics data for retailers have been nothing new retailers, yet the inclusion of social media has changed its properties to become something much intrinsic to every shopping experience. As majority of it is unstructured, retailers are finding it challenging to churn out value from the amassing of information. Big data initiatives will be utilized to improve merchandising, supply chain, marketing and promotions, e-commerce, store operations decisions and also to track customer shopping and behavioural analytics. Targeting potential customers with offers and also using predictive analytics to predict/suggest products & services have already set the ball rolling.
Many brick-and-mortar retail are having a hard time competing against online entrants yet as is not lost. Forward-thinking retailers are using advanced tactics such as geo-targeting to spread the word about in-store promotions. The main focus is to draw consumers to the physical store, through footfall analysis. Footfall analysis is mutually beneficial to both retailer and consumer, making it a veritable tool for the retail industry to bank upon. Based on the frequency and rate, a retailer can identify bulk traffic times and adjust store hours/ amount of sales associates accordingly. Adjusting store hours not only gives consumers more opportunities to shop but also makes them feel like they are a priority. This is especially important during holiday or back to school season as time is of the essence for consumers seeking to get what they need.
Consumers are Engaging Across All Channels
Omnichannel retailing is completely transforming the retail world by seamlessly engaging the consumer through both online and in store channels. Retailers are now able to target a larger audience more efficiently in past years. Consumers have grown to value their retail experience; research shows engaged consumers are more likely to increase purchase. Sending out a synchronized campaign through e-mail, online presence, in-store promotions and advertisements keeps the brands in fresh reckon in consumer’s periphery. Customer service brings forth loyal and active consumers who are more susceptible to cross-selling and up-selling tactics, spreading brand awareness through word of mouth. The modern consumer values loyalty, price and convenience, and through Omnichannel strategies, retailers are sure to hit their mark.
The times have an interesting way to shower its benefits on mankind and technology is one of the gifts that retailers can easily rely on.