Trends in Retail Your Business Can't Afford to Ignore

In today’s competitive market, retailers need to be more innovative in order to remain competitive and appeal to more potential customers. The growing demand for new innovations leads us to some very interesting new trends in the retail landscape.

These exciting new trends include the implementation of mobile shopping and the merging of online and offline shopping experiences. In this article, we are going to focus more on the trends in retail your business cannot afford to ignore.

Online to Offline Shopping Experience

Retailers are now merging their online shopping experience with the customer experience they deliver through retail spaces. Online to offline shopping is becoming the norm, mainly because both sides of the equation – the convenience of online shopping and the personalised experience of retail spaces – are equally important to customers.

The easiest way to integrate online and offline shopping experiences is by allowing customers to shop online and pick up the products they bought in-store. In-store pickup is quickly becoming the most popular delivery method, exceeding one-day delivery and attracting new customer groups at the same time.

IoT in Retail

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is a key technology for the retail industry. IoT and its implementation allow retailers to optimise parts of their operations without having to invest big in new team members or excessive hardware. After all, IoT devices are small, light, affordable and useful.

With the help of IoT, retailers are now able to automate workflows and integrate them seamlessly. Rather than monitoring inventory manually, for instance, retailers can simply install IoT devices with sensors designed to keep track of shelves and SKUs. Automated checkout is another trend made possible by the implementation of IoT in retail.

Predictive Retail Space Management

The use of IoT and sensors to automate retail business operations is only the beginning. The next technology gaining a lot of traction in retail is artificial intelligence (AI). Now that retailers can collect more data from their operations, it is up to AI to process the collected data and generate insights; insights that are later used to optimise workflows on another level.

AI makes predictive retail space management possible. A good example is the optimisation of in-store layouts based on people dwelling data, which is gathered by using CCTV feeds and a vision AI engine. By knowing how customers browse the retail space, retailers can make minute adjustments that significantly improve customer experience.

Mobile Shopping

Speaking of improving customer experience, another trend that is also triggered by the need for better customer experiences is mobile shopping. Similar to automated checkout, mobile shopping lets customers buy products online. At the same time, it enables in-store mobile checkout and autonomous retail spaces.

Rather than asking customers to pay for the products they want at the checkout counter, retailers now create mobile apps designed to improve the in-store shopping experience. Customers can scan the products they want using the app and immediately make a payment from within the app. This creates a more seamless shopping experience in general.

Focus on Customer Experience

That brings us to the last trend on our list – the growing focus on customer experience. As online retailers improve their user interface and boost user experience, offline retailers are transitioning to customer experience-centric optimisations to remain competitive on the market. Small tweaks and trends we discussed earlier in this article all point to this main objective.

As retailers focus on their customer experience, expect to see new trends taking shape on the market. Better utilisation of social media (and digital marketing) and operational optimisations designed to cut costs are already improving the operations of many retailers. You can improve your retail business by adopting these trends too.

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