It is no secret that the retail industry has experienced a major disruption. With the effects of the ongoing global pandemic for the past two years, retailers were forced to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. And most successfully offered a range of pick-up, drop-off and touch-free purchase options to continue driving their sales — $1.7 trillion in revenue over the past two years. Still, retailers are in a difficult position today as the economy is in the grip of a potential recession and deals with inflation rates that haven’t been seen in decades.
It is clear that it is time for the retail industry to rethink how it is using digital to grow its industry and navigate the current economic situation. In addition to being online, what can the industry do with things like the Industry of Things (IoT), data, omnichannel marketing, and even the metaverse that we are facing in the economy.
reality of deflation technology
As retailers deal with the effects of inflation, many are turning to technology to help them reach and target consumers in new and different ways. Of course, there is always the argument that technology adoption is an investment, but I believe in the reality of deflationary technology, which means that the more technology is used, the more the cost of technology goes down. That’s why now is the perfect time for retailers to invest.
To revolutionize the industry, retailers need to start rethinking their relationship with technology. In the past, we’ve seen retailers use technology like AR and VR to draw people into stores. Even before the pandemic, things like virtual fitting rooms were a “thing”. Soon, they’re going to be table steak. Still, none of this really changed the shopping experience. Until now. the following are just a few
As more and more retailers recognize the importance of headless commerce and are able to adapt and tweak different customer channel preferences, it is time to implement new and improved options in-store. These include such things as:
Frictionless—and cashless—shopping. As always, Amazon was ahead of its time when it launched Amazon Go. Then, the idea of walking through a store with a cart full of products and leaving without waiting in line at the cash register on the way seemed absurd. Now, it makes sense for consumers to add sensors to stores to enable this type of purchase, especially when you consider how retailers have been hurt the most by the great resignation. Turning to this type of technology would be a large initial investment, but would probably be less of an annual expense than what the cashier would pay. These employees will be able to spend more time dedicated to improving the customer experience, resulting in more loyal customers. The initial investment will be worth it in the long run.
Smart Shelves. Have you ever checked a company’s website to see if a certain item is in stock at their local location, only to drive there and find that the product is completely out of stock? ? Smart shelving and AI-powered inventory should help with this. By being able to calculate stock in real time and send that information to relevant websites and apps, stores will be able to eliminate a lot of frustration for customers. This technology can be applied to the entire supply chain so that a customer can see that a product is out of stock at one store, but is available nearby for pickup or delivery within a day. When stores have access to this type of real-time data the options are endless.
Technology companies like Qualcomm are stepping in to solve the problem. They unveiled their Smart Shelf Edge technology equipped with dynamic pricing, geolocation and LED technology at NRF 2022 with the hope of helping retailers navigate their stock and pricing issues. Another company with interesting intelligent shelving is Scandit, which has built any device with a camera into a smart scanner. This has a plethora of better retail experience implications for retailers and consumers.
Omni-channel marketing to blur the physical and the digital
One of the trends we have seen recently is the blurring of digital and physical stores. People are shopping however and wherever it is convenient for them. As such, retailers need to be able to reach customers wherever they are. That means social media, websites, e-commerce sites, geo-location smart beacons, email, push notifications and many more avenues. To do this successfully, companies need to collect data and invest in data management tools like CDPs to mine dates for insights. Retailers who can send the right message to the right customer at the right time will be recession proof. Those who do not use this type of technology will go extinct.
I’ve covered the CDP space extensively here at Forbes, and I continue to see massive investments from large enterprise software companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Adobe to integrate the next generation of customer data platforms with existing systems. can be integrated. record. Specialized CDP vendors have also emerged, including Treasure Data, Segment (now Twilio), Clavio and Immersys. I expect large software companies to continue to lean into this space while Point Solutions seek differentiation—I expect retail-focused CDP solutions to continue to grow in popularity.
While we’re still years away from the metaverse being mainstream, people are getting used to it now. That’s where people are wasting their money and time. The Nike Metaverse store reported over 7 million visitors in just 6 months – that’s a huge audience to reach. Retailers need to understand the potential that the metaverse has and start planning now.
Physical stores aren’t going anywhere, but the metaverse and digital marketplace will have value. Whether it is offering digital goods, housing or services, money is to be made. And the metaverse, while it may be slow to adopt it in full if there is a recession, is likely to happen for many years to come. To capitalize on the potential, retailers need to start planning now.
The future is uncertain, but adopting technology will help
The world is not as it was two years ago, let alone five. Many of these technologies have existed well into the past, but the “new normal” is creating an acceleration of technology and new use cases we’ve never seen. Consumers now want alternatives. They want rest. They want transparency. They want to shop whenever and wherever it is convenient for them. Also retailers need to plan for the future. The economy is facing a level of uncertainty that we have not seen since 2008. It is possible that if the level of inflation does not end and we will go into recession or worse, stagflation. One thing we’ve learned from the uncertainty of the pandemic is that adopting the right technology will help agility and flexibility to navigate the worst. And those skills cannot be ignored.