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Retail’s tech-driven trends: What lies ahead

August 20, 2023

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The retail industry is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is essential for success.

Cutting-edge technology is reshaping how consumers shop and how the retail industry operates.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most impactful trends shaping the retail landscape in 2024 and beyond.

1. The AI revolution in retail

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer buzzwords; they are driving forces in the retail sector. Amazon’s recommendation engine revolutionized personalized shopping over two decades ago. Today, AI in retail goes far beyond recommendations.

Retailers now use AI to predict demand, optimize marketing, offer instant customer support through voice assistants, manage product catalogs, and even enhance in-store operations with smart shelves and video analytics.

Generative AI tools are on the rise, thanks to advances in deep learning models, opening up new possibilities for creative content generation and personalization.

2. The age of automation

Automation is enabling retailers to address labor gaps and increase efficiency. McKinsey reports that 52% of retail activities can be automated with existing technology, offering significant cost savings and boosting productivity. From self-checkout terminals and electronic shelf labels to cleaning robots and automated inventory management, automation touches every aspect of retail, including contactless payments and marketing campaigns.

3. Augmented reality: Bridging the gap

Augmented reality (AR) bridges the gap between online and physical shopping, with virtual try-on apps and virtual fitting software leading the way. Shoppers can now use AR to visualize products in their environment, try on clothing virtually, and even navigate large stores more efficiently. The benefits are clear: 56% of shoppers feel more confident about the quality of a product with an AR experience, and AR experiences reduce the likelihood of returns.

4. The power of mobile technologies

Retailers are using mobile technologies to enhance customer experiences and streamline operations. Mobile apps, mobile payment systems, and personalized phone marketing are integral to retail. Location-based promotions, facilitated by GPS technology, attract foot traffic while equipping staff with mobile devices empowers them to conduct transactions anywhere within the store. Mobile technologies, combined with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and QR code systems, offer faster checkout, efficient online order fulfillment, and improved customer service.

5. Turning data into insights

Siloed data and legacy systems have hindered the use of analytics in the past. However, integrating data from websites, mobile apps, social media, and point-of-sale systems provides retailers invaluable insights for personalization, product management, price optimization, and inventory management.

Conclusion

The future of retail is here, driven by AI, automation, AR, mobile technologies, and data analytics. Retailers who embrace these trends will enhance the shopping experience, optimize operations, and thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

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