The coronavirus pandemic has transformed our world and society. The retail industry has also changed with time. Shopping is becoming more internet-driven after 2020. Retailers have changed various processes for dealing with the supply chain. There are various inventory challenges that companies are facing due to the pandemic. Offline retail has been hit very hard. However, online retail is still booming. Most people are using online services for shopping.
Retailers have finally understood the importance of IT. Every retailer now understands that they need technology for moving forward. Technology has completely revolutionized the way organizations run stores and customers shop. IT is helping companies in improving customer experience. You can use these technologies for managing your back-office operations. According to a report from Gartner, more than 77% of retailers want to use AI or Artificial intelligence in the future. In this article, we are going to talk about the top retail technology trends for 2022.
Every organization has access to a lot of data. Thus, the retail industry is becoming more data-driven and data-centric. You can use this information for conducting predictive analytics. If you want to make the best decisions, then you should use analytics. You can’t rely on your instinct now. The past can help you in predicting the future. Thus, all the data that you are collecting is very important for you. You can use it for predicting the future.
Coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption. There were inefficiencies in the supply chain due to which this disruption happened. Some retailers finally realized that they were not prepared to meet consumer demand during tough times. The future’s supply chains are going to be more agile. You need to use data for optimizing your supply chains. Customer expectations are also evolving with time. You need to keep up with their expectations if you want to survive. Retailers need to follow a proactive approach to offering unique and truly personalized shopping experiences.
AI will help you in making smarter business decisions. It will analyze the following factors before making any decision:
- AI will look for patterns in your consumer behaviour. This will help you in boosting your conversion rate. Thus, it will help you in increasing sales.
- Help you in creating loyalty programs for your business. This will help you in personalizing the customer experience.
- AI will help you in inventory reporting. It will help you in getting discounts from suppliers. AI will help you in demand planning, selecting the correct vendor, and supply predictability. This will help you in optimizing store operations in the long run.
There are various types of data that you will be collecting in the retail sector. This will include data related to retail pricing strategies, competitive intelligence, social media metrics, and seasonality. In simple words, AI is going to play a big role in the future. It will help retailers in predicting the demand and taking better decisions. Most big companies are already implementing this. However, retailers have also joined the AI game now. They are also using AI for improving their decisions.
AR in chatbots
AR or Augmented reality will help you in using real-time information in the form of audio, graphics, text, and other mediums. Companies are combining AR with chatbots. This will help you in providing an immersive and feature-rich shopping experience to your customers. You can engage with your customers in all dimensions. Chatbots will empower your customers to virtually try out makeup and clothes. They can use AR-powered chatbots for checking if new furniture will look good in their home. They don’t need to visit your store for getting this feel.
Many online retailers are using these bots. Lenksart is allowing their customers in trying out the glasses by using AR technology. PONDs have created a chatbot for their customers. It is a skin-diagnostic chatbot that is helping its customers in dealing with skincare issues. The chatbot mainly focuses on pimples, uneven skin tone, spots, and wrinkles. Customers can use this chatbot for solving their skin-related issues. All the customers need to do is upload their selfies on the platform. They need to fill out a simple survey for the chatbot. The chatbot will use the collected data for delivering a personalized diagnosis. This entire process will take only 60 seconds.
Various lip artists are also using a similar technique. They are asking customers to click their selfies and virtually try lipstick shades. The chatbot is acting as a personal beauty assistant for customers. This is helping companies in boosting their customer experience.
This type of unique customer engagement is helping brands in going viral. It will help you in boosting your online sales. AR in chatbots is going to become big in 2022. If you are selling look-and-feel test products, then you should try this technology.
Click and collect
BOPIS or Buy online, pick up in-store has become a huge thing during the pandemic. Stores were using it during the pandemic for selling without worrying about the costs of expanding their delivery network. This is helping retail stores in acting like local and small fulfilment stores.
Social distancing restrictions are still applicable in some areas. Thus, only limited numbers of people are allowed in the stores. Customers have adopted Click and collect for shopping. The good thing about Click and collect is that it eliminates the shipping time. Customers don’t need to wait for shipping.
According to a report from Black Friday, more than 50% of shoppers are planning to increase click and collect in 2022. This is going to be the biggest retail IT trend in 2022.
If you want to implement this effectively, then retailers need to integrate order management tools and use data analytics. This will help your employees in keeping up to date. Companies can use advanced inventory management systems for ensuring a smooth shopping experience. Customers can easily order whatever they want from the store.
The voice shopping market will grow to $40 billion in the US alone by 2022. Customers are using voice assistants like Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, and Google Home. These voice assistants are helping customers in using voice channels for product purchases and search. They can do comparison shopping by using their voice. Customers can use voice assistants for finding products. This will help you in adding a new dimension. You can provide a better customer experience. Your customers can search for products without using their hands. All they need to do is ask a voice assistant to purchase a product from your website.
Every retailer wants to provide one-to-one personalization to their customers. There are a few technologies that will help you in enabling one-to-one personalization. However, these technologies come with their own privacy issues.
Cognitive technologies have improved rapidly with time. This can help you in achieving hyper-personalization. It is one of the most demanded technologies. Retailers are using AI, Machine learning, sentiment analysis, and natural language processing for processing their unstructured customer data. They are storing this data from social media, in-store, and online store activity. These data points can help you in understanding your customer concerns and needs. It will help you in understanding the current stage in your buying journey. This will give you a few ideas that you can use.
Retailers can use all these technologies for delivering targeted messages to their customers. This will help you in personalizing interactions.
Technology has helped retailers in surviving during the pandemic. They can use these technologies for improving their efficiency. However, you still need to worry about applications and data security. Retailers are moving their resources to the cloud. This simply means that you need to protect your data from complex cyber attacks.
A good security strategy will help you in protecting your data and applications from attackers. You need to focus on building cyber defence capabilities. This will help you in infusing agility, securing brand trust, and building business resiliency. You should consider systems, applications, partners, and employees when you are creating your threat protection plan. This will help you in protecting your important data from attackers.
Product discovery and visual search are helping e-commerce businesses in providing a better solution to their customers. Customers can perform an image-based or visual search for finding products. They don’t need to use keywords for finding products on e-commerce sites. Visual search will use real-world images for product discovery and online search.
Your customers can upload an image of the product that they want to buy. The visual search engine will help you in finding the visually closest product. It will check your online catalogue and provide the search result to the customer. The visual search engine will also make suggestions to customers.
The attention span of customers has decreased due to social media. Thus, visual search capability is very important for your e-commerce business. It will help your customers in finding products with minimum work. All they need to do is upload photos on your e-commerce site. Thus, visual search is becoming one of the most popular retail trends.
Role of AI/ML in visual search:
You need to use AI for pattern matching and detection. Machine learning will be running the background for checking the uploaded image. It will first analyze the image patterns, colours, and shapes. After that, it will perform a similar check on your product inventory images. This will help your algorithm in finding the closest image and products.
ML algorithm will first give a coordinate to every image. Similar items will have closer coordinates. Thus, similar items will form a cluster. ML algorithm will then give a coordinate to the uploaded image. It will find the coordinates that are closest to the uploaded image.
This will help you in minimizing the steps between product discovery and inspiration. You can reduce purchase failure by using ML algorithms. Visual search will help you in delivering a frictionless journey to your customers. According to research from Gartner, visual search can increase your sales by 30%.
You should address your customer demands for payment options. Make sure that they can use any payment option they want. Customers want to make online payments as they don’t want to carry cash. Online money platforms like Venmo, Apple Pay, and PayPal are helping customers in doing online payments. They can also use crypto accounts for paying online.
Most companies are only focusing on the payment method. Payment time flexibility is also important for your business. Coronavirus has increased the financial burden on Gen-Z and Millennial customers. They want to do shopping but they don’t have the cash right now to support their shopping. Retailers are solving this problem by offering different forms of payment. They are accepting “buy-now-pay-later” or BNPL options. There are payment instalments like ZipPay, Klarna, and Afterpay that retailers can use.
These payment options will allow retailers to get all the payments upfront. Customers will be paying instalments to the payment apps. Retail store owners don’t need to worry about these instalments. Customers can also buy whatever they want to buy. Thus, this is a win-win for everyone.
These are the top Retail Technology Trends for 2022. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire are helping retail clients in improving their technologies. They are helping retailers in embracing technologies like AI, Robotic Process Automation, Chatbots, and advanced analytics. You don’t need to worry about managing your own IT. Bleuwire will help you in managing your IT tickets. They will help you in building robust analytics solutions. This will help you in creating a robust supply chain. Thus, you can meet your customer’s expectations.
The best way to improve your IT infrastructure and strategy is by working with a good MSP. Most retailers don’t know anything about IT security. Thus, they can’t create a good IT security plan for their business. Bleuwire will help you in protecting your data from attackers. They will help you in creating a solid IT security plan for your business. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.