Transformation in retail is the key to success. Agile processes and adaption to the ever-changing behavior of shoppers' demand a well-thought decision-taking for tech investments in the future.
The Berlin-based retail expert, Ayhan Yuruk, points out the importance of retail technology and suggests that high tech innovations help retailers to stay competitive but at the same time notices, that most retailers, do not own a clear understanding how to implement those gadgets in their stores and organizations in order to gain a benefit. Traditional retailers need to integrate smart retail technologies to bring their customers back.
Here are the top 5 retail technology highlights for 2020:
AI - Artificial Intelligence
In-Store Analytics & Tracking Solutions
How AI will change the Retail Industry in 2020
Artificial Intelligence is the salient and most promising development in the digital landscape, period.
According to Tractica (a market research firm), the global AI software market is expected to show massive growth in the coming years, with revenues increasing from around 9.5 billion USD in 2018 to an excess of 118.6 billion USD by 2025.
Nearly all the market industries and business segments are actively interested in AI and are willing to harness the technology for business benefits. Thanks to AI, companies are empowered to make the shopping experience much more delightful and efficient for the end consumers and at the same time reduce unnecessary costs. So, it is a no brainer to promote and implement this promising technology especially in the retail segment.
AI will not only amplify the shopping experience but will help retailers to optimize their global buying process and get primarily those pieces on the shop floor that are guaranteed bestsellers.
Machine learning will allow better trend forecasts and further enhance business efficiencies behind the scenes that will ultimately drive more revenue.
“In the immediate future, retailers will use AI analysis to make more 1:1 comparisons that allow them to understand how their products and their prices compare to their competitors. In the near future, monitoring of counterfeit good manufacturing and minimum advertised pricing violations will be an area of major investment. Down the line, we expect to see retailers implement AI to help them act on the insights they glean from retail analytics platforms. These implementations of AI technology will help businesses to reduce inventory waste, reach consumers at the right price, elevate service quality, and improve bottom lines.” says Sanjeev Sularia, CEO of Intelligence Node.
Using AI, retail stores can give customers the power to get instant support, inside the stores. By placing screens and touch panels, stores can help customers locate an item, get answers to their queries and get inspirational content and cross-selling options curated for them. Also, it increases access to millions of additional products, which is currently not possible due to space constraints inside a physical store.
Artificial Intelligence will rule the retail domain and help brands become more customer-centric and efficient in retail operations.
Best In-Store Analytics & Tracking Solutions
In the hyper-competitive retail market, in-store analytics, or so-called POS-Analytics, is gaining traction for obvious reasons: it helps retailers keep a close eye on their customers and provides valuable insights on store performance. Furthermore, all this data can be followed up with actions.
Traditional retail stores are aggressively applying analytics techniques to win audiences back from e-commerce competitors. To that end, in-store analytics is becoming an indispensable part of a brick-and-mortar retailer’s operating strategy. Its benefits can be seen in other areas too, including marketing, merchandising, and fraud prevention.
"Imagine Google-Analytics for brick-and-mortar spaces, with real-time customer data and immediate call to action features, through push-notification options on wearable devices for instance", says Ayhan Yuruk, Founder and Managing Director of #SHOWROOMING. "POS-Analytics empower sales associates to deliver a top-notch service on the shop floor, thanks to powerful insights"
In order to compete with online stores, retailers need as much information about their customers as they can get. We’re not just talking about likes and dislikes. They want details on what displays are working, what products are flying off the shelves, and what could be causing store losses. And they want to understand and undercut the phenomenon of showrooming — when someone comes into the store to see something they want to purchase elsewhere, usually online.
This is where in-store analytics comes into play. It can help retailers with the following conundrums:
Shopper or Consumer? In a store setting, people are either consumers or shoppers. Who went without purchasing anything and why? What did they do in the store, from the entrance to exit? The older techniques of door counting and sale conversion can’t really answer these questions, much less give insight into buyer motivation.
How POS-Analytics Can Help: In-store analytics can show retailers how customers behave, leading to an improved shopping experience and an optimized store layout. This can nudge people from being shoppers to consumers, and may even encourage them to spend more.
What’s Missing from the Shopping Cart? Retailers know what customers purchase from their store. But they also need to know what customers didn’t purchase and why.
How In-Store Analytics Can Help: This technology can give detailed insights about the effectiveness of store displays, employee actions, and other factors that can be used to sway purchasing decisions.
Getting From Data to Insight to Action. Running a successful retail environment means making lots of decisions based on lots of factors. Knowing the ROI on your decisions, from everyday operations to marketing, is important; even more important is moving from theoretical insight to positive action.
How POS-Analytics Can Help: Store performance can be measured in real-time for better decision making — even in on-the-fly situations. The technology behind in-store analytics can parse complex data sets into actionable options.
For baby boomers, who grew up watching Captain Kirk talk to the Enterprise’s computer on Star Trek, digital assistants seem a little like science fiction. But for millennials, it’s just the next logical step in a world that is auto-magical.
And as those millennials enter their consumer prime, revenue from products purchased via voice-driven commands is projected to leap from today’s US$2 billion to US$8 billion by 2023.
We are already seeing a major change in purchasing habits. On average, consumers using Amazon Echo spent more than standard Amazon Prime customers: US$1,700 versus US$1,300.
First, for organizations interested in keeping humans involved, there’s Beyond Verbal, a Tel Aviv-based startup that has built an AI customer service coach. Simply by analyzing customer voice intonation, the system can tell whether the person on the phone is about to blow a gasket, is genuinely excited, or anything in between. Already it’s been integrated in call-centers to help human sales agents understand and react to customer emotions, making those calls more pleasant, and also more profitable. For example, by analyzing word choice and vocal style, Beyond Verbal’s system can tell what kind of shopper the person on the line actually is. If they’re an early adopter, the AI alerts the sales agent to offer them the latest and greatest. If they’re more conservative, it suggests items more tried-and-true.
This leads us to the assumption that Voice Commerce will change shopping forever. In-store voice assistants will be used by retailers effectively as an overarching marketing tool improving customer experience to a more emotional and ultra-personalized level. Voice is THE chance for brands to open up a newfound intimacy to build a valuable personal relationship with customers.
Customers’ voices can be used as a new user interface which will become a primary consumer interaction platform for retailers- also called Conversational Commerce. It will lead retailers to even create exclusive branded ecosystems of their own for a more tailored customer approach to the needs and shopping journeys of their customers. Enabling them to make more spontaneous purchase decisions in a new shopping environment, voice assistance provides a fast and convenient customer experience. For instance, the purchase can be completed exceptionally fast as a single conversational interaction rather than multiple steps or clicks.
However, in the near future, the momentum of the voice interface will be soon coming to a store near to you. So, next time entering a store you may not only say hello to the staff.
Countless years of online shopping behavior influenced the purchase decision making of customers enormously. They see themselves confronted with questions like- „Why don’t the sales associates know my previous purchase?“ or „As a loyal customer, why do I not receive preferential treatment at any store of a brand, without regard to my default location?“ This, in particular, are examples of in-store disadvantages automated check-in systems will solve.
A universal login system to identify customers in real-time, as they walk into the store. Just as practiced in e-commerce for years - the system would check your purchase history and give you personalized recommendations based on your data. The aim is to empower the sales associates to build a closer relationship with their customers and to further optimize their NPS (Net-Promoter-Score).
Because despite all the digital transformation consumers still enjoy the experience of visiting a store and actually having a conversation with another human.
By allowing customers to automatically check-in and out you can forget about queues and the lengthy payment processes. Automated check-in simplifies and accelerates the shopping experience. You can give your team more space, assigning them different and more meaningful tasks as being fully dedicated on serving customers.
The negotiation here is: I’ll give you the data you give me the best possible service in return!
How can gamification drive loyalty, increase sales and engage your retail customers? Before we explore the benefits, let’s be clear about what gamification means. Simply put, gamification brings elements of gameplay into something that is not naturally a game, for example, retail stores. According to Boston Retail Partners, almost nine of ten retailers will use this technique in the next five years.
Especially if your target demographic are young and tech-savvy customers you should consider developing gamification. A Master App with games that prizes rewards and special promotions, you can easily get your customers’ engagement.
This trend relies on our natural tendency to seek competition- Humans thrive to win, whether its Monopoly or collecting stamps from a local coffee shop, it turns your customers into players by providing games that they enjoy. We learned such behavioral patterns also from our parents, they used gamification all the time: instead of pleading to put on the shoes, they proposed a race to see who can get ready first.
They are many elements of retail experience that can be infused with gamification. One example is a play space inside stores encouraging customers to play a game revolving around the brands’ products. One immense advantage of this technique is, that it entertains, engages and leaves the customer with positive experiences. It is important that the in-store shopping experience is exciting and rewarding for your customers.
If your brand is not yet using this technology to engage and reward customers, then it's time to get started. There are many benefits of bringing moments of play to your store, you can get the data- harvesting potential of the technology as well as the brand awareness and customer engagement benefits in a form that customers value.
Not only the traffic in the stores will increase but also the customers leave the store with positive emotions like excitement.
Is your retail brand ready to harness the true potential of AI and other promising technologies? Consult our experts and discover what kind of adaptions your brand and your physical stores should not miss in 2020.
#SHOWROOMING is an experiential retail marketing agency at the intersection of design, brand-activation and technology.
Headquartered in Berlin, their aim is to make physical stores sexy again by disrupting the traditional brick-and-mortar retail landscape through data driven creative commerce and out-of-the-box floor concepts, that is on the pulse of the new generation and a mobile driven culture. Services include: Experience Design/Customer Activation, POS-Technologies and Retail Design.