How Tech Will Transform Retail in 2020

Technology is changing the way every industry does business by creating efficiencies, saving money, and providing better products and services for consumers and merchants. Retail merchants are also adopting these technologies to help improve their businesses. Here are some of the top tech trends that will drive retail into the next decade according to Forbes.com.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality offers retailers a way to enhance the customer experience. From browsing products to virtually “trying them on,” extended reality is already in use by many retailers today. Teen surf and sports clothing retailer, Tilly’s, offered its customers a back-to-school scavenger hunt experience that helped their customers explore different clothes and accessories. The IKEA Place ARKit app helps you determine if the furniture you want to purchase will fit and look good in your home. In the future, extended reality will eventually enable consumers to be able to share their virtual reality shopping experience with others.

Big Data

Retail organizations have never had an issue collecting lots of data but analyzing it and using the data to solve problems or create new solutions has been a struggle. Predictive analytics change that. When retailers successfully analyze data, they are able to understand important information about consumer purchasing behavior, personalize the shopping experience, address a consumer’s needs based on where they are in the customer journey, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs of supply chains and more. Predictive analytics help retailers be smarter, more efficient, and reduce costs.

Micro Moments

Think about how you use Google or your favorite search engine. You rely on finding what you need in the moment, like where to find a restaurant to meet your hunger for Japanese food. Retailers who can meet customers “in the moment” have a powerful advantage. Thanks to direct digital access to consumers and powerful analytics capabilities, businesses can capture moments and help customers during their moment of need and even anticipate what a customer might need before they even know it.

Recommendation Engines

Another powerful tech tool for retailers is recommendation engines that help customers find things they never knew they needed and to help funnel options to a consumer at relevant times in their shopping journey. Recommendation engines get better over time. The more data the algorithms have to assess a customer’s shopping behavior, the better the recommendations. Retailers get to benefit from higher cart sales and improved customer satisfaction thanks to the ease of use.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Equipment

The Internet of Things and smart equipment will transform the shopping experience. Thanks to the volumes of data we have available and the ability to process it, consumers can receive a personalized shopping experience that wasn’t possible before. Today’s consumers want experiences that include personalization and information to help them make decisions. Internet of Things technology helps stores deliver these experiences to these customers. Smart equipment such as sensor-embedded shelves that track inventory will also change retail operations.

Robotic Store Assistants

Another tech trend that’s changing shopping is robotic store assistants. Robots can help shoppers find the merchandise they are looking for and answer questions. They can even email special offers or coupons. Home improvement store Lowe’s has the LoweBot that helps with in-store customer service.

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