5 Technology Trends Transforming the Retail Industry After the COVID19 Pandemic
Experts assure that in the coming years the physical retail store will clearly continue to have its importance in the purchasing process for many consumers, but it must be complemented with many technological advances that complete and improve the customer journey experience.
Companies are aware that providing personalized experiences is the key to creating customer engagement. So what does the future of retail hold for businesses? What will the marketing strategies be like in both the physical store and online shopping? These are 5 retail technology trends that are redefining the future of the retail industry, and how that will influence the upcoming changes after the covid19 pandemic.
1. Beacon Networks
The beacon network, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) applications, emit a signal that uniquely identifies each device, allowing any retailer to understand exactly where a customer is in the physical store. This represents a great improvement in the shopping experience for the consumer, such as the generation of personalized discounts to reward customer loyalty.
Meadowhall Shopping Centre used iBeacon technology in the Ladies’ Night event with Hotel Chocolat, Krispy Kreme, Cath Kidston, House of Fraser and other brands providing offers, discounts and prize giveaways. Customers had to download Meadowhall’s app to receive a notification on their smartphone whenever they came into range of a beacon. More than 500 app downloads were done within the first three hours and 120 hotspot offers were redeemed within the first 52 minutes of the event.
2. Augmented Reality
Can you imagine experiencing within an app how a dress looks on you, without having tried it on before? This is possible due to the ‘virtual fitting room’ in augmented reality.
Zara has started to implement it through reality mannequins and a new ecommerce platform that shows life-size models wearing the brand’s latest clothes. This enables retailers to generate online sales since it is possible to buy the clothes through the app.
According to a study of tech trends by Retail Perceptions on how augmented reality impacts, 71% of consumers would buy more in that store if they were allowed to experience the products through this technology, which translates into more sales and a lower rate of return.
3. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality allows customers to get a more realistic idea of what that product would look like before buying it, making better purchasing decisions and creating unique customer experiences. ABI Research has estimated that virtual reality will generate 1.8 billion dollars in 2022 in the supply chain.
IKEA has already implemented it. Now customers can use their VR headsets to view rooms that have been previously designed with IKEA furniture and can even be customized, such as changing the color of furniture, items or spaces to see an estimate of the result.
Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, already uses virtual reality through its VR Buy + mobile platform so that users can have a better visualization of the product they are going to buy.
Digital payments are increasing more and more in the world. Digital wallets are expanding to more than 20,000 stores and 31% of Americans will likely use a digital wallet on their mobile device.
For a user, having an electronic wallet means having debit and credit cards linked to an app and selecting the most appropriate option when making an online purchase. Using the administration panel that comes with an e-wallet you can manage all the information about the payments made and store operations.
For retailers, it’s about simplifying the checkout process, having store automation and saving considerable time. Payments can be received through debit or credit cards (like MasterCard or Visa) as long as the consumer has a merchant account. The advantages are that they do not have to set up separate payment systems and the provider is the one who takes care of the account maintenance.
5. Delivery with drones
Customer behaviors have evolved since covid19 pandemic, the huge increase in e-commerce and online shopping over the past year has paved the way for new ways of delivering goods to consumers. In a few years, it is expected that drones will be able to be seen in the sky making house-to-house deliveries in American cities.
Amazon is a pioneer in delivering packages to customers in an average of just half an hour. The shopping app it’s called Amazon Prime Air and they are air packages that weigh 2.27 kilos or less. They can only operate in sparsely populated areas, rural or residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. In the future, this type of delivery method could increase.
These tech trends in the retail industry are excellent technological advances to start making the changes that allow businesses to increase their possibilities of sales, loyalty programs, their visibility and brand positioning. The technological trends will continue to evolve, and it is very likely that such evolution will continue in the direction that omnichannel is pointing.
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