Looking to the future of retail technologies with Screenmedia's new trend report

59% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service than they did just one year ago. Download and read our free report to discover seven key tech trends retailers need to know, and find out how you can go about tackling them now.

As customers demand more and the retail industry becomes increasingly competitive, cutting-edge companies are investing right now in technologies designed to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies.

Driving revenue

Our report highlights ways that technology can boost revenue, reach new customer segments and reduce costs. Already some businesses are making moves, blending online and offline offerings to support customers instore and drive experiences with technology. For example, Melissa Shoes’ customers can opt in to facial recognition which allows staff to see past purchases and provide them with a tailored in-store experience, driving revenue.

Improving customer satisfaction

While most customers still prefer to shop in store, convenience continues to rank as the number one driver for consumer shopping choices and habits, even beating price. Physical retailers can stay relevant by minimising non-shopping in-store activities. Last year Sainsbury’s launched the UK’s first cashierless superstore, allowing customers to scan and pay by phone as they shopped, reducing time spent queuing.

Voice also holds a huge opportunity in providing customers with convenience. The introduction of Amazon Pay into Alexa skills has allowed brands to tap into Amazon’s payment channels with ease, resulting in a seamless order and payment process for the user. The Virgin Trains skill allows customers to find and buy train tickets through voice alone. While consumers aren’t yet comfortable ordering clothing, homewares and big-ticket items through voice yet, confidence in voice as a shopping channel is growing.

Improving efficiency

Similarly, AR can also be used to create meaningful experiences remotely. The AR boom is huge, with consumers using the likes of Pokemon Go and Snapchat daily. However this technology also lends itself to the retail industry. IKEA lets customers see how furniture will fit into their home by using AR to give accurate 3D renderings of them in customers’ own rooms. This boosts consumer confidence, reduces purchase anxiety and cuts the number of returns and refunds.

We also predict that 2020 will be a huge year for intelligent supply chains. The pressures of competition have already caused a number of brands to examine their supply chains, and by 2022, 80% of retailers will employ intelligent automation. Fruit of the Loom have stayed ahead of the curve by tapping into weather data to predict when customers will buy warmer clothes, and use live data to pre-emptively restock retailers, cutting wastage and boosting customer satisfaction.

Responding to customer needs

While consumers’ expectations for customer service grow year on year, retailers can stay one step ahead with anticipatory support. By anticipating outcomes before they happen, retailers can win and retain customers as well as support staff. Right now British Gas are developing smart boilers which can predict when they will fail and prompt the customer to book in a service. Not only will these lead to a heightened customer experience, but they'll also support staff in diagnosing the problem.

While privacy concerns are on the up, 91% of consumers are still more likely to shop with brands who recognise and remember them, then provide relevant offers and recommendations. Consumers have been seeking out personalisation for some time and 80% say they are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences. Technology affords future-forward companies the opportunity to offer this through AI, omnichannel connections and by providing a larger variety of better products faster.

The future of retail lies with the companies who adopt these technologies ahead of the curve and stay competitive. We are an innovation agency creating award-winning digital solutions with partners at the leading edge of the retail industry. Click here to read our full report on the technology trends in the retail industry, and get in touch to find out how we can help you take advantage of them now.


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