There is a lot of interesting and exciting innovation happening in the retail technology sector as brick-and-mortar stores find new ways to adapt to the increasingly online world and develop new ways of serving their customers better.
Some of the major trends that will soon be seen in retail include:
Moving Beyond Multichannel
Multichannel has been a major buzzword for retailers over the last couple of years. The idea of providing services to the client across a number of touch points, including online, mobile, and in store, has become an essential part of the business strategy for many retailers.
Taking this idea a step further, retailers will soon begin to create individualised user profiles which can track a customer’s interaction with the retailer across all channels, enabling the retailer to provide seamless customer service experience, and offer personalised service, deals, and discounts.
More Innovative Loyalty Programs
According to Vend’s Retail Trends and Predictions for 2015 (http://www.vendhq.com/university/retail-trends-and-predictions-2015 ) the standard ‘points-based’ loyalty systems will no longer be as effective, as customers no longer find the possibility of earning points enough of an incentive to buy. Retailers will therefore be looking for ways to engage customers with new and imaginative strategies.
According to Vend’s report, “In addition to giving away generic points, the loyalty programs of the future will reward shoppers for their actions and engagement, rather than just purchases.”
There will also be an increase in customised perks based on customers past purchases and other interactions with the retailer.
From Big Data to Big Analytics
As retailers collect more and more information on their customers, it will become increasingly important to be able to analyse and utilise that data in a meaningful way. Retailers will be using the data they have gathered to get to know their customers and provide customised shopping experiences.
According to Dan Berthiaume, the Senior Editor of Chain Store Age, “Big Data can reveal precisely when specific customer groups are most likely to shop and exactly what they are looking for in terms of product, service, price, etc. Retailers can thus make highly targeted adjustments to staffing, product placement, marketing displays and even prices throughout the day.”
All Things Mobile
Beyond the importance of mobile as a sales channel and way of tracking and targeting customers, there is a large variety of mobile-based technology which savvy retailers can take advantage of. For example, as smartphones and tablets become more widespread, mobile payment methods (such as SnapScan) are also becoming increasingly widespread and acceptable.
Mobile devices also give retailers new opportunities for empowering their staff to increase sales. For example, employees can be equipped with tablets which can help them aid customers by checking on stock availability, ordering out-of-stock items for them, or suggesting similar items. These tablets can even be equipped with point-of-sale systems which allow them to ring up the sale from anywhere in the store.