If anything, COVID-19 is a reminder that retail may need to reboot faster than anticipated as this has completely revolutionised the way we shop and has forced the industry to re-think their business model.
Retail is at the forefront of a technology revolution, driven by two forces. One is the consumer’s behaviour, as they take advantage of ecommerce, turn to smaller store foremats, and interact with retailers in new ways across multiple channels. The other is the intense pressure on legacy retailer’s margins from the cost of meeting new expectations while fending off competition from digitally native retailers who offer promotional methods to win over customers.
Technology is rewriting operating models across every sector of the economy, but we see this being a greater impact in the retail sector. As consumers, we see the impact of our own shopping behaviours and preferences on the shape of the retail landscape.
The popularity of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores is slowly declining as consumers are continuously looking for enhanced experiences and convenience. The UK has the highest adoption of online shopping and by 2030 technology will affect a third of tasks in UK retail. Today, one fifth of consumers shop entirely or mostly online. This reflection on digital behaviour takes a drastic turn for brands as they try to attract and retain customer loyalty. For further information, click here.
Technology is therefore a leading objective for UK retailers if they are to stay relevant and profitable. To prepare for this, retailers must step up to implement more technology and data-centric solutions to stay ahead of the game to survive and thrive to meet changing consumer expectations.
How Modern Digital Trends and Technology Are Shaping the Retail Industry
The time has come where simple old ways of retailing will not work anymore and as for retailers without a reputation for online sales, they are likely to suffer more.
Today’s digital world has made it possible for many retailers to take their business online and incorporate bespoke technology and other modern digital trends into their process to offer consumers an improved and advanced way of shopping.
These trends include ecommerce stores, mobile applications, and extended reality.
Probably the biggest change for retailers in recent years came in the form of ecommerce. No longer did businesses have to open physical stores to drive sales as everything can promptly be done online.
Mobile applications have undoubtedly changed the retail industry. Businesses can now invest in applications to shop on the go, allowing consumers to browse and buy products or services at anytime and anywhere.
As consumers embrace digital, this is boosting the revenue of businesses as they can keep their ‘doors’ open 24/7.
Extended reality is greatly influencing the retail industry which includes the process of virtual and augmented reality.
Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment, whereas augmented reality in retail produces an interactive experience through a mobile device. These types of technology are rapidly changing the retail industry. Between the two, they create an immersive experience that promotes consumer engagement.
One example of a retailer that uses VR is TOMS Shoes. Their business model is grounded in making a positive impact in the world. For every pair of TOMS shoes you purchase, the company donates a pair to someone in need. Back in 2016, to bring this vision to life, TOMS created a “walk in their shoes” campaign. Shoppers used a VR chair to experience the journey as one customer from California travels to Columbia to meet a child that benefits directly from their purchase.
The intelligence demonstrated by machines is referred to as AI. This involves automating certain processes through the use of machines and aims to help businesses to save costs and improves customer experiences.
One way AI is used in the retail industry is by creating creating cashierless stores as this eliminates cashier staff and reduces checkout lines.
Increasingly, more retailers are looking into this space to improve the payment and checkout processes.
These are payment solutions that allow consumers to buy products and services without the need for physical money or a card, but rather through easy-to-use secure mobile application.
The days of advertising in magazines and newspapers are no more.
Businesses have now realized that their customers are all online and have implemented digital marketing to reach them.
This type of marketing utilises online-based technologies to advertise and promote products or services. Digital marketing tactics include search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing and email marketing.
Direct-to-consumer websites, mobile commerce, click and collect are all fundamental ways that provide customers the means to buy when and where they want to. Businesses need to think about how they can use data to understand what their customer is buying and why they are buying it, alongside leveraging predictive modeling to automatically forecast future purchasing patterns.
Bespoke data software has made it easy for companies to obtain predictive analytics through valuable data. This data is commonly gained through websites, mobile applications and digital marketing campaigns and is usually focused on consumer behaviour and buying activities.
Read our guide to look more further into how you can improve customer experiences as a business using data analytics.
These details produce insights that retailers can use to tailor products and services to enhance customer service, and to target new and existing customers.
At Data Clarity, we have developed ClarityOmnivue to specifically solve the challenges businesses face trying to mine multiple disparate data sources to deliver one 360-degree view of customers and business key performance indicators. ClarityOmnivue transforms disparate data into a unified data solution that enables more informed business decision. For more information on how ClarityOmnivue can be of benefit to your business, click here.
We have worked with retailers like Paul Smith to develop ClarityOmnivue that has given them the ability to easily identify and reconcile their data and providing all the information they need to know about a single customer.
What does this mean for Bricks-and-Mortar?
Bricks-and-mortar stores are closing left, and right as physical shopping is increasingly transferring into online shopping. However, many retailers still want to keep their physical stores open. Thereby, resulting for the need to revolutionise the way they attract consumers.
After all, consumers are after excitement and convenience. Therefore, physical shopping should move to a more stimulating and interactive experience.
To discover how you can do more as a business, contact us today.