Tech-led innovation and milestones have been disrupting the retail industry since its inception, and now, the pandemic has only fuelled digital transformation across the sector, including small and medium retail businesses. As digital transformation is taking place, new technology implementation is also making waves in 2021, with a few technologies garnering great attention:
Solutions that enable ‘pre-store’ research
Since the pandemic has hit, people have become increasingly cautious and are hesitant to step out. As a result, online shopping is thriving more than ever. Reports even indicate that 90% of shoppers do some pre-store research before visiting a physical store. . Hence, as a retailer, if your business doesn’t have enough appealing information on digital platforms for shoppers to indulge in, you are likely to lose out on potential customers. In today’s digital world, shoppers expect a store-front and digital presence. For your customers who want to look up your products online, it’s essential that you upload your store’s photos and videos on social media platforms, and encourage customers to provide feedback and reviews. Additionally, you can display your in-store catalogues, and product brochures online, to give your shoppers easy access to relevant information.
Point of Sale software technology
With technology constantly evolving, point of sale systems have evolved too. Making cashless transactions super convenient, POSs have now gone from being digital and cloud-based to being mobile and iPad friendly. These POS systems help retailers optimise and manage their inventory, while also analysing customer data. iRetail is a smart end-to-end POS solution that tracks and analyses purchase data to help retailers understand which products are in demand. In addition, it aids retailers with product categorisation and vendor management.
Automation is going to shape the retail industry. Amazon Go is a prominent example of a leading retail chain that has successfully tested automation in stores. Retail automation helps leverage real-time data for better customer experiences and drives efficiency with no chance of human error. It helps reduce costs and helps produce more tailor-made communication and offerings to customers. Many big retail firms are adopting robotic technologies rapidly, too, as part of retail automation strategies. For example, Lowe’s, the popular retail company for home improvement products, has implemented multi-lingual robots to greet customers and help them at the store.
The pandemic has raised the need for contactless payments more than ever before. According to a report by Business Wire, the global contactless payment market is expected to grow to USD 18 billion by 2025. Another report published in December 2020 by Mastercard published says that 79% of consumers globally use contactless payment for necessary purchases citing cleanliness and safety as significant drivers. A frictionless, safe payment method has become the need of the hour, and retailers are using several new in-store experiences like BOPIS and curbside pick-up to ensure a seamless payment mode. Apart from hygiene, contactless payments provide accelerated and faster transactions, making customer journeys easy and seamless. With sustainability being a popular topic for brands in retail, contactless payment is yet another mode that offers improved operational efficiency and ease of use, at a lower cost. A POS system is a retailers’ best option to enable contactless payments in their store. iRetail’s suite of services provides retailers easy access to smooth integration of digital wallets, payment apps and any third-party payment services. It also enables digital receipts for payment methods. Hence, dependencies on paper reduce and operational sustainability increases.
Technology is going to rule retail
Retail technologies are on the rise, and their usage is increasing exponentially. AI and Augmented Reality are the leading technologies that retailers leverage to provide a superior customer experience in-store and online. Brands like Levi’s and Ikea are trying and testing AR retail strategies, digital tools and AI to provide a holistic approach to shopping. In a pandemic-gripped world, digital technology is here to stay and grow.
It is time for retailers to transition according to trends and new demands that boost their profitability, so that they can stay ahead of the curve.