The Retail Industry is one where you can earn rewarding profits through the sale of goods and services via multiple channels of distribution. It is essential for this market to be a constantly evolving one as it is strongly dependent on shifting customer expectations – this is clearly seen in the sheer scale of the technological and logistic innovations in 2018 alone. Furthermore, moving to digital platforms has introduced the concept of Online Retailing or Electronic Retailing, which is the sale of goods and services through the internet. Looking forward, here are a few trends likely to influence this sector:
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Two new innovations, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), have the potential to impact buying decision on a large scale. VR is currently used in everyday functions such as shelf assortment, store design and layout, while AR can provide retailers with valuable data in terms of customer analytics, customer behaviour and preferences, both current and past. However, the capabilities of AR are not yet fully utilised in the Retail Industry. With effective implementation and utilisation of AR and VR technologies, the Retail Industry will see drastic growth in upcoming years.
Automation in Retail
A cashier-less approach is the latest in the trends which can be seen affecting the Retail Industry. This customer-friendly model is expected to gain increasing importance and has even been adopted by many retailers. We can thus foresee that 2019 will see the rise of the cashier-less model.
To sum it all up we can say that the Retail Industry is likely to see some major technological innovations in 2019. It won’t be exaggerated to predict that the Retail Industry will be largely technology driven in the years to come. It is high time that the traditional retailers upgrade their working business models to adopt new methodologies - it is the only mantra for survival in this highly competitive environment.
The fact that the internet is all set to revolutionise the Retail Industry is quite apparent from the pace at which e-commerce is taking over traditional retail. Apart from technological changes, the Retail Industry is also expected to undergo cultural changes to suit the needs of the present generation – namely the Millennials. With a healthy dose of awareness regarding the betterment of society, young buyers of late prefer to opt for a brand which contributes to a better future. As a result, more and more retail brands today are rethinking their internal and external brand strategy.
Millennials have been giving more importance to the experience which a particular product gives them overall, as opposed to the materialistic outlook of the product. This has led to most brands revising their existing marketing plans to include innovative engagement activities. This process of enabling customer-product interaction is termed as Experiential Retail. Experiential Retail will facilitate better Brand Recall and ensure that products are better understood. It will be a major transition which may end up revamping the facade of the Retail Industry in 2019.
Another important technology used is Big Data. The year 2019 will see the increased implementation of Big Data across retail stores. It has been instrumental in monitoring and analysing buying patterns and trends. Big Data helps in analysing the popularity of a product and also assists in identifying the customers who are likely to be interested in these products. Thus, it will help retailers in understanding and meeting customer expectations.
Upgrades in terms of the device on which retailers can make their products available are so varied, that it has opened up a whole new mode of shopping for customers. Retailers need to ensure that they keep up with technological advancements in order to obtain sales. Mobile phones are the most commonly used devices for shopping online. The number of customers shopping via mobile phones is expected to increase in the future. It is, therefore, a necessity for retailers to make their App, as well as their website, mobile-friendly.