This evolution has forced businesses to ask important questions. How can they better support their employees? What are the best ways to appeal to remote audiences? And how should they pivot to direct-to-consumer programs and services? Every field has been affected by this transition — and retail is no exception.
From automation and Augmented Reality (AR) to cross-channel interaction, modern consumers want an engaging, customized shopping experience. With the right tools and tailored solutions, you can increase your business value, retain employees and build lasting consumer relationships.
Before we look at technology trends shaping modern retail, it’s vital that we address the Great Resignation. This economic trend has seen employees voluntarily quitting in droves, beginning in early 2021. In fact, the number of American workers resigning hit record highs in November of 2021, with 4.5 million people leaving their jobs.
Retail has always been prone to turnover, but the Great Resignation hit the industry especially hard. Many of those critically effected by the pandemic were front-line workers — the face of the company for clients walking into a store. These workers are reluctant to return to stressful retail jobs, but new technological advancements can increase efficiency and lessen the strain on retail staff, all while enhancing the customer experience.
Modern technology systems can be key to retention:
The pandemic challenged businesses across the world to evaluate how technology enables their organization. Those that did had a better chance to not just survive but thrive in a new era of business. In today’s retail landscape, there’s no better time to implement technology solutions that improve the employee experience.
With employee retention in mind, let’s take a look at top retail technology trends. For retailers who embrace innovation, industry is booming. The sector was forecast to grow between 10.5% and 13.5% in 2021, and experts estimate continued growth throughout the new year.
Key trends of next-generation retail live in four main areas:
“Alexa, reorder my weekly groceries.”
The future of voice commerce
More households buy a smart speaker each year, and we’re seeing big trends in mobile app integration. Voice-powered applications make the user experience easier. As functionality continues to improve, we’ll see more consumers adopt voice shopping. So, as a retailer, it’s important to have a clear mobile-voice strategy.
When we look at top retail trends, there’s one strategy that can garner success in every area: omnichannel engagement, a marketing strategy that blends and manages channels from a unified platform. This encompasses customer interaction through multiple touchpoints, including social media, website, text, email and live chat.
According to McKinsey & Company, more than one-third of Americans made omnichannel features — such as buying online for in-store pickup — part of their regular shopping routine since the pandemic, and nearly two-thirds of those individuals plan to continue.
Multiple interactions that are consistent and seamless with your brand drive better sales performance. By working with a technology partner, you’ll identify key channels that benefit your business and gain thorough understanding of the technology needed to succeed.
You may be wondering: “What does this all mean for the future of retail?” Square’s retail report said it best: Customers expect to purchase what they want, both when and how they want it. Convenience and ease are driving the retail experience — and technology lays the foundation for forward-thinking retail strategies.
When you think of a store of the future, a retailer like Amazon may come to mind. One of their key strategies is checking in their customers before they check out. In doing so, they identify the customer from the start of shopping, facilitating a more personalized and engaged experience.
This process also allows the collection of vital customer data, as it maintains purchase history, wish lists and shopping patterns to better understand (and market to) the consumer.
Technology is constantly evolving, and it can be daunting to analyze current trends. A strong technology partner will help your team understand industry changes and build a strategic roadmap so you can make the most of retail innovations in automation, personalization, AI and more.
At Insight, we'll help upgrade your legacy hardware, maintain accuracy in customer and inventory management, manage multiple platforms, provide cybersecurity and innovate your store of the future.
Through our trusted partner connections, you'll discover customized solutions to increase productivity and enhance customer relationships. Our team of experts will ensure that you operate at maximum efficiency as the marketplace transforms.