Retail industry has taken a sharp turn . Comparing what retail was a decade ago and what it is now makes us realize how fast the industry has changed with the help of innovative IT solutions using new technology in retail industry. Let’s understand this change with the help of an example. Earlier, when someone had to make a purchase, they had a handful of options i.e. few local stores to choose from.
The situation is quite different now. Customers of digital age have a multitude of options to decide how and where to buy the product from. With an abundance of information available at the fingertips, customers have high demands and expectations from the retailer. In this ‘Age of Consumer’, the only survival factor for retailers is to deliver exceptional experience. There is where retail IT solutions help!
Technology in Retail Industry: AR, Beacon Technology Retail and Kiosk Machines
The advent of digital technologies has transformed the purchasing methods of consumers. Countless ecommerce platforms have emerged in the past decade, thereby making way for an entirely new channel for customers to shop for the required products.
Despite the rise of ecommerce platforms, physical retail outlets still exist because of the renewed in-store experience they deliver to the customers:
- Digital assistants that help customers in making an informed buying decision are empowering retail sales.
- Retail stores using self-service kiosks have reported a noticeable boost in sales, major reasons being ease of use, convenience and flexibility to shop for products.
- These kiosk machines can also use data to strategically up sell and formulate new sales strategy.
- Retail stores use Augmented Reality technology for allowing customers to try on different clothes or accessories without actually wearing them. This saves their time and even serves the purpose.
- A small, powered transmitter called Beacon is used to broadcast message on nearby customer’s smartphone in the form of push notification. Beacons can be customized to interact with customers located at varying distance from 30 to 50 meters to few centimetres.
- Beacons are used to send promotional offers to customers as well as understand customer’s shopping pattern such as frequency of shopping and user’s in-store navigation. All this data helps in increasing the overall sales of retail stores.
Opportunities for Retailers Using Big Data
Retailers are often faced with enormous amounts of customer’s data. This data, if used strategically, can help in deriving actionable insights and devise future-proof marketing plans. Technologies of Machine Learning and Predictive Analysis contribute to a great extent in making sense of voluminous data.
Technology in retail industry using Big Data
allows retailers to track, aggregate, process and shape data into a form that is advantageous to them. This technology has empowered retailers with better opportunities to understand their customers. The greatest impact of Big Data is in terms of forecasting and supply chain modeling.
Retailers can benefit from Big Data with respect to 4 major elements – volume, velocity, variety and veracity. The sources and channels for collection of data are much wider including call center records, online transactions, POS system, social media and in-store user flows. Such holistic data derived from Retail IT solution helps in gaining a comprehensive understanding of who their customers are and how they shop. With Big Data, retailers can build efficient, intelligent merchandising and supply chain networks to deliver smarter shopping experience.
Delivering Omnichannel Experience with Retail IT Solutions
Emerging technology in retail industry are blurring the lines between physical and digital world. With this, customer expectations from retail shopping experience also demand for the reflection of these changes.
- Customers seek for seamless experience across devices, i.e. the convenience and flexibility of online shopping should match the on-time and excellent service of in-store purchases.
- Customers desire continuity and connectivity in their shopping experience between what shoppers are doing online and what is happening in store. Ability to view inventory information online reduces the chances of users encountering ‘out of stock’ problem after visiting the retail store.
- Retail inventory management solutions allow users to access in-store inventory information and provide customers with other convenience features such as ultra-fast delivery, pickup in-store and ship to store. This type of omnichannel retail experience empowers customers to make the perfect buying decision.
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On a Concluding Note…
Retail industry is dynamically changing to emerging technologies and trends. The key to survive in this industry is to adapt to changing customer preferences and demands with the help of IT solutions and new technology in retail industry. Building a connected ecosystem of manufacturers, supply chain logistics, retailers and customers can help in smooth operations and workflow.
Technologies such as Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Predictive Analysis, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) are penetrating in the retail industry, but this is just the beginning. It can be considered as the start of revolution in the retail industry, many new innovations are yet to come in the near future.