The future of the retail industry is one that cannot be predicted easily. And while it is hard to say what is next, we can still get a pretty good idea of what the future might hold, by looking at retail technology trends that are making names for themselves today. This is why today we will be looking at the top retail technology trends that are already making their way out there: whether it is a store, e-commerce site or even a consumer’s home. Keep these trends in your radar and maybe one day you will decide to invest in one of them.
Point of Sale and Inventory Control Software
There is no one good reason today for a customer to wait in line. Most retailers and brands have already realized, that many of the serious inconveniences are associated with the legacy point of sale (POS) and are costing their business tons of money, not to mention that it leads to the very bad customer experience. Today, it is neither hard nor expensive to add to an existing POS system in order to address line busting, as well as offering a variety of other services that drastically enhance the shopping experience of your customers. The cost of POS development built from scratch is within a reasonable budget as well. Retailers should be looking on applying modern cloud-based point of sale systems if they want to solve common retail use cases like the endless aisle and BOPIS. At the same time, retailers should also be able to function to full capacity in the case of network outages. Modern mobile POS offline mode options can ensure that your sales associates will be able to manage their common workflow, like applying discounts and special promotions, processing sales and returns, and all of that even during busy periods with no connection to the internet.
Let us ones again outline all of the main possibilities that POS can give you:
- Improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
- Dramatically improve your customer service
- Simplify and improve inventory management
- Save huge amounts of time by automating bookkeeping and countless other retail tasks for you
- Easily show where you’re making and losing money so you can make adjustments and increase profits
UPC Codes and Bar Code Scanning
Bar code scanning allows your business to check products at the point of sale much more accurate and faster than it can be done with a keyboard. It will not only save you time but will have a huge impact on your inventory. Imagine, for example, the potential consequences of entering the wrong number of a product and then signing it off from your inventory. Every successful business knows, that the inventory is your lifeblood and it is vital to keep it in a proper check. Errors like that can cause your business time, sales and inventory costs.
In case that your merchandise has UPC codes on them, you can easily scan its tags without the need of printing your own barcodes. Just imagine what a huge time saver this can be for your business.
High Personalization Options
There has been a recent uprise in the number of direct-to-consumer, subscription-based fashion services. After completing a survey on your preferences in style and fashion, these type of companies can send their customers a wide selection of clothing, accessories and beauty products. In order to keep with that agenda, various brands are now also adding an additional level of personalization to their customers’ shopping experience. And we are not just talking about attaching your name at the mailing topic. Retailers are trying their best to track your shopping history and shaping the content around your tastes. Look at the lingerie retailer ThirdLove for example, that sends their customers pieces of lingerie, that are picked specifically for them, based on their previous purchases.
Retailers try to keep with this level of personalization both in and out of the store. Using the chat capabilities of the store’s native apps, associates from these stores can communicate with their customers directly in order to curate their individual looks and wardrobe choices. Suggestions like that can be shared to a customer via a previously mentioned app, or even by in-store dressing rooms. American retail company Nordstrom, for example, went as far as even offering customers their own personal stylists, for various occasions.
And some retailers take it even to a step further, by letting the customers building their own product. Take a look at Dresden, which is an eyewear retailer from Australia. They collect plastic waste from Australian beaches as well as discarded fishing nets and upcycle them into the affordable frames. They then let their customers create their own pairs of sunglasses by enabling them to interchange the frame parts and lenses. So whether you are a large retailer or an SMB yourself, do not forget on personalizing your customers’ experience.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, being one of the main trends of recent years, helps connect physical things to the internet in order to provide a seamless shopping experience. There is no surprise that a technology like that already revolutionizes in-store experiences of customers all around the globe. It is a perfect solution to bridge the gap between digital and physical shopping experiences. A recent report shows that almost 85% of retailers are expected to adopt IoT technology by the year 2019, up only from 57% that are using the technology today. Internet of things will open a room for a variety of applications, such as:
Electronic Rack Edge Tags – at the moment retailers need to update prices on the products that were sold in-store with printed labels. This process will change, as many more retailers are adopting electronic labels, that helps them updating product information through the internet.
GPS Enable Shopping Trolleys – will allow customers to upload shopping lists, with the trolleys then using these lists as a guide that will help them to navigate in-store to find the right products. Customers will also be able to pay via trolleys themselves, completely eliminating the need of standing in lines and wasting time.