Posted by Indusa Admin on July 21, 2015 4:50 am
Retail is one of the world’s largest and oldest industries. Spanning from antiquated trade and barter systems of the past to the sophisticated e-commerce platforms being used today, shopping has evolved in countless ways. Each time a new innovation is released, the entire industry is forced to adapt or risk falling behind the competition.
10 Retail Technology Trends and Predictions
In 2014, Forbes released an article detailing the 10 Technology Trends That Will Revolutionize Retail. Here at Indusa, we compiled our own list of retail technology trends in within the industry. We complied numerous sources and our own experience into one simple post for your enjoyment. Let’s look at what those top 10 trends are:
1. Mobile Payments and Biometrics
Mobile payments allow customers a speedy and secure checkout at their fingertips. Simply tap or scan your mobile phone and you’re good to go! With companies like Starbucks, Apple, and PayPal leading the charge with this technology, it’s only a matter of time until physical wallets become obsolete. A similar concept is biometrics for easy identification. Apple is once again pioneering this field by creating its TouchID system. This tech allows users to unlock their phones or enable purchases simply by scanning their fingerprint.
2. Mobile Coupons
With more and more retailers turning to online coupons and mobile apps, this new technology is slowly but surely making traditional coupon cutting a thing of the past. EMarketer predicts that by 2016, nearly half of all US companies use mobile coupons for marketing purposes.
While the stability and usefulness of this crypto-currency is still debated, it’s working its way into tech and the rest of the world with major retailers such as CVS, Amazon, and Overstock.com now accepting Bitcoin. Want another reason to kick yourself in the head? A simple $100 investment in Bitcoin in 2010 would have made you over $72 million today!
4. Cloud Computing
The cloud is changing the way retail operates. The Wall Street Journal reports that cloud technology has numerous uses in the retail industry, including streamlining supply chain, creating an omni-channel experience for customers, and revolutionizing how customers are checked out with mobile technology. It allows for easier global expansion as well, with all members of all teams having access to the same information – regardless of their location.
5. Big Data
More and more retailers are focusing on collecting and analyzing data about customers with the thought that unraveling how shoppers think and feel is a surefire way to grow business. Tech companies like Prism and Emotient are working to analyze everything from where you walk in a store to how you feel when looking at an ad, while department stores are using big data to entice customers. With its seemingly unlimited potential, customer analytics is sure to be a top trend in years to come.
6. Customer Relationship Management
While CRM software isn’t a new invention, these platforms are evolving and becoming more of a necessity than a luxury for any business. CRMs now have the capability to do everything from managing your vendors and distributors through a single system, to simplifying the sales process in-store while providing improved customer service through the web. With new social listening features, most retailers now have hands on access to digitally manage brand image and loyalty. As you can see, a CRM is an essential tool for retailers to successfully manage all aspects of their business.
7. Social Media
With social media you can monitor and respond to customer complaints, concerns, and questions, you can promote and manage your brand image, and now you can even sell your products. Pinterest recently announced its “Buy” button which will allow users and potential customers to purchase items directly from the app.
8. Improved In-Store Experiences
Whether it be an in-store kiosk or in-store mapping retailers are looking to simplify the process of finding their products. Tech savvy stores are now telling customers exactly where everything is and how to purchase it.
9. Beacon Technology
In the same vein as improving the in-store experience is beacon technology. Using beacons, retailers can harness data from shoppers’ phones in order to process payments and promote in-store deals – while generating valuable analytics at the same time. According to Econsultancy, this data is sent via Bluetooth, so it can be processed even without an internet or data connection.
10. The Technology of Tomorrow
There is a mountain of tech out there available to the retail industry and with new innovations coming practically every day, it’s only a matter of time until the next “big thing” gets released. While it is impossible to say when the next game changing POS system will be released or when augmented reality and 3D printers will become commonplace in stores – it’s only a matter of time.
The retail industry is still thriving in both the ecommerce and real world markets. Retail marketers know that every time a new innovation is released, the entire retail industry has to adapt in order to avoid falling behind the competition. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, so hopefully these retail technology trends will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.
Are your customers happy? Learn all about improving the customer relationship in retail with our free ebook, The Last CRM Guide Retailers Will Ever Need.
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About the Author – Sarah Van Wambeke
Sarah is an avid writer and digital media enthusiast. Here at Indusa, she primarily focuses on content creation and social media management.