The future of retail is unfolding before our eyes. The retail industry is expected to change drastically by the year 2020.
From socially influenced and personalized to collaborative, the retail industry will change the way businesses have been managed for the past decade. Retail businesses are going to be more customer-centric and inclined towards adopting new technologies to deliver enhanced customer experience.
It is expected that by the year 2020, shoppers would pay more for faster deliveries, checkout-less stores will become a real thing, augmented reality will transform the online and in-store shopping experience.
According to a survey by Accenture, 75% of customers are likely to purchase from a brand that recognizes their name, purchase history, and recommends products based on their preferences.
Let’s take a look at some trends that companies are expected to bring into the action by 2020.
1. Digitize Everything
Augmented Reality (AR) transforms the whole shopping experience by adding digital elements to the live view of products. The customers will be able to see, feel, or test the products on their smartphones before buying the products just sitting at their homes.
Shoppers can try products virtually, whether it’s furniture for the home, apparel, or cosmetics, with the help of 3D models in augmented reality applications. It enables the customers to understand the product better when making a purchase, which in turn helps the retailers to reduce returns.
Technologies like smart mirrors would also become the point of engagement for customers, which uses Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and gesture recognition to display the virtual image in the mirror. Also, it can give recommendations according to color, size, and interests.
2. Express Deliveries
Consumers are shopping online like never before with the digitally transforming retail industry. Every customer wants to get the product delivered as quickly as possible. The furious competition among retailers has resulted in the growth of delivery services, with lead time getting shorter.
Big sharks in the retail industry like Amazon, Kohl, and Walmart have revolutionized the delivery experience for the customers by delivering the products in just one-day with free shipping after placing an order.
In the future, retail businesses, whether big or small, intend to deliver products faster within the time frame of a few hours to fulfill the customers’ demand.
3. Backoffice Technology
It is not just the front-end technology, which makes the whole customer experience pleasant during in-store or online shopping. Backend office technology is equally important to provide that in modern retail.
Retailers have realized the importance of backend tools, and the coming time will show that they have started prioritizing back-office technology for better inventory management, supply chain, and customers’ information.
With the changing picture of the retail industry, highly advanced retail management systems will be introduced to keep up with the pace. This retail management software will help to make better inventory management decisions, improve customer service by processing deliveries, returns, purchases faster, and generate data analysis reports quickly.
Also, the 5G (5th generation) cellular network technology may come into action, which will make the data processing efficiency and the online experience more interactive and smoother.
4. Subscription Services
Subscription services are periodic deliveries (weekly, monthly, yearly) of the products as a method of product distribution and marketing strategy. Subscription-based eCommerce businesses like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. use these services.
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Subscription boxes have started to trend in the retail industry like the monthly parcels of clothes, make-ups, or gifts for children online.
Similarly, retailers are likely to introduce these boxes in-store where customers can assemble the products in a box according to their needs and subscribe to the periodic plans.
Retail businesses are keen to expand these services for enhancing the shopping experience and also understanding their loyal customer base.
5. Social Shopping
These days, social media is not just about generating leads and traffic to an eCommerce website, but social media platforms are looking forward to bridging the gap with eCommerce by allowing users to complete the purchase without leaving the platform.
30% of consumers say that they like to purchase directly from social media platforms. Instagram is rumored to be developing a fully shoppable application where the user could see the information, picture, description of products, and make a purchase directly without ever leaving Instagram.
Similar social media applications like Facebook Marketplace, Google Express, Pinterest are interwinding with retail for the seamless online shopping experience.
Technologies like visual search, based on Artificial Intelligence, are going to be reaching to every consumer and retail, which would benefit both the business and people trying to find the right items.
Visual search allows the users to take a photo of things they are seeing on someone like seeing their favorite social media influencer holding a dress and have it discovered on the eCommerce for shopping.
This social media and retail integration will bring in better data utilization for better customer experience.
6. Experiential Stores
In today’s digital world, the consumer can purchase anything with just clicking-a-button on an online retail website, but what customers can’t get online is a unique experience.
Most people cherish experiences over materialistic things. The retail store, which offers experiences, not just products, gets more attention from customers. Real experiences lead to a more extensive loyal customer base who creates a buzz around about brand.
Experiential stores will offer different types of experiences like sampling, tailoring, virtually experiencing products, depending on the retailer to retailer, according to their target audience.
Giving them an exclusive experience will help them to remember something for long after their purchase.
7. Rise of Private Labels
In today’s retail landscape, retailers have actively started to invest more in private labels than ever before. Having products manufactured with their own labels helps the brand to stay relevant to shoppers who care about quality and affordability, not a brand name.
Now that retail businesses have seen the advantages and understood the customer’s needs, they would want full control over production, pricing, branding, and profitability.
With the changing landscape of the retail industry, where the retail businesses have to be more customer-centric, the private labels will help the retailers to sell the products at a lower price point, which will consequently encourage the customers to buy those products.
8. Anticipatory Support
Internet-enabled technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence have allowed retail brands to track and respond to customer’s behavior, purchasing habits, and preferences.
These technologies are expected to impact the picture of responsive merchandising, where real-time attentiveness and understanding of potential customers’ needs would be possible, along with the next level of personalization.
Since Internet of Things connects over 11 billion everyday products, it will allow retail store owners to capture customers’ data and send them the relevant suggestions and recommendations throughout every phase of the customer purchase journey.
9. Self-checkout/Staff-free Store
Cash-less, card-less, cashier-free, self-checkout stores are possible now with the advancements in technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.
This year, Amazon has already made a mark in the industry with Amazon Go, opening nine stores throughout the USA. Many other retailers, like Microsoft, Toshiba, Walmart, are also going to open staff-free shops.
These stores are perfectly suitable for working professionals who have to get in and get out of the store quickly by scanning the item’s barcode on the way to store and take it from the shelf.
Staff-free retail stores rely on various technologies like Machine Vision, Facial Recognition, Big Data, Shelf Sensors, Augmented reality, and many more, with ease of providing features of checkout-less stores, less inventory, less theft, and convenient shopping experience.
10. Payments Flexibility
It is expected that 2.1 billion consumers worldwide will use mobile wallets for payments or money transfers by 2020. Cash can never be gone entirely, but it is expected to diminish as consumers are looking for more convenient and safe options for purchase.
Retailers are also looking forward to this demand of customers for application-based payment methods. Payment options will not only benefit shoppers but also retail store owners as it would reduce the lines in stores, and more personalized experience.
Payment methods like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal will continue to grow among consumers as they allow the users to make payments anywhere, anytime. Moreover, retailers are also planning to start supporting the customers in financing, which would make the purchase easy for customers.
To Sum It Up
Retail businesses need to know about the predictions and trends for the coming year, which can be the crucial factor in deciding the brand’s success. Those retail brands, who will innovate and offer more than just products, will thrive in the fierce competition.
Do you know any more trends in retail for 2020? Let us know in the comments section.
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