Trends Changing the Future of Retail

Technology | 5 minutes to read

10th Mar, 2022

While stores were already adopting new technology and offering customers an omnichannel option, COVID-19 expedited digitalisation and posed new hurdles.

Snapshot 

    • The retail landscape is undergoing a remarkable transformation, and technology is playing a significant role in fostering buyer allegiance

    • Businesses have the opportunity to use new and novel strategies to engage with their consumers and run their businesses more profitably.

    With millennials coming of age, consumers expect their shopping experiences to be customised and to be at the lowest possible price. They expect to be known by the retailer and do not want to be swamped with thousands of irrelevant products. They prefer shorter wait times, personalised product recommendations, faster order fulfilment, and frictionless checkouts. All this and more is dependent on the accuracy of the data available. Reliable figures may lead to optimization, automation, and expertise. Enterprises must consider retail solutions in their gameplan to leverage the momentum and build scale in their processes.

    Supply Chain, Retail Analytics and Audits

     Changing customer habits result in greater inventory turnover rates and inventory inconsistencies, while poor stock visibility causes delays and higher expenses, resulting in lost sales and margin risks. Retailers are opting to use advanced data analytics to adapt to the new marketplace and to reduce their logistics costs. Artificial intelligence tools are contributing to automating and making the whole process more successful. As mentioned in a report by McKinsey & Co. early adopters that successfully adopted AI-enabled supply-chain management improved logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65%, compared to competitors that lagged.

    A retail analytics strategy provides data on inventory levels, supply chain movements, consumer demands, sales, etc. that helps marketing and procurement teams make informed decisions. Demand and supply data analytics can help maintain procurement levels and also aid in sales & marketing decision-making. Raw data is procured from all the channels and analysed to make a judgment about the past and present performance of the organisation. This retail analysis gives insight into the business of what is happening, why is it happening and what’s to come next.

    A strong retail execution strategy is essential for suppliers to stay competitive in today’s market. To collect crucial field data that affect the health of the company and the products, retailers or brands need to conduct retail audits. By analysing the audited data retailers and business owners can make knowledgeable and right decisions about what works and doesn’t work for their business.

    Also, read this use case: Know the best ways to improve merchandising with retail analytics.

    Planogram and Indoor Positioning Systems

     Visual merchandising and the layout of the store go hand in hand. A planogram is a program used by retailers to assign items to shelves. It is a 2D or 3D graphic representation that improves product positioning. Products sell better if they are well-positioned, and people discover them. Besides this, a planogram provides insightful data about the buying behaviour and preferences of the consumer prompting retailers to manage their sales and stocks effectively. Every retail store worries about time wastage. Planograms can be useful for both in-store and online shopping.

    Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

     Shoppers increasingly turn to augmented reality for shopping experiences. AR experiences like virtual fitting rooms and enhanced in-store navigation are sweeping the market, to the detriment of those without them. AR applications in retail provide abundant opportunities to businesses to curtail expenses and amplify client gratification. Customers may virtually try on products before purchasing them in a virtual fitting room or how new furniture will appear in their home or workplace setting. Whether the client shops online or in-store, AR/ VR speeds up the customer journey and enhances retail conversions. Besides reducing the sales cycles, these applications also minimise returns of products. The virtual experience provided by augmented reality in retail piques clients’ interest in items while delivering all of the additional product data they may require. As a result, well-informed customers are more likely to return and purchase additional things when given the opportunity.

    By following directions on their phone’s screen, shoppers can use augmented reality to find the items they need in a store.

    Store workers too can visualise shelves before setting them up using augmented reality devices. AR-enabled enterprise devices can serve as a guide for setup using the 3D planogram displayed on the sales floor as a base.

     Conclusion

     The pandemic forced retail to reinvent itself in a way that has never happened before, requiring tremendous investments in technology to drive it. Our needs will continue to change and evolve as we adapt to a post-COVID-vaccine world. As the brick and mortar stores prepare to open, they realise the importance of data-driven tools and automation to maximise sales and customer satisfaction.

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