Countries in the world are gradually recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic but the global retail economy is still in a phase of uncertainty. The pandemic has led to the adoption of digital and contactless services in almost all sectors, of which the retail industry is the leading one.
Remote buying of apparel was boosted by 40% while it was 100% for groceries. Rising prices because of inflation are complicating things today and compelling retailers to have fluid pricing to retain loyal customers. In such a situation, let’s check out the top trends in the retail tech industry which will predictably dominate the year 2023.
Top Trends In The Retail-Tech Industry For 2023
i. Integration of in-store and online shopping experience along with contactless payment options
Retailers do this to thrive in the competitive market, hence omnichannel shopping has become the norm today. This has become popular because of the shopper’s desire to research products online and purchase them in-store and vice versa but in recent years, there has been no distinction between these.
Statistics indicate that 60% of consumers conduct online research before a major purchase and for returns, 80% of the time is spent in-store. For a better experience in-store, to avoid the hassle of standing in queues, there are self-service checkout options, which were worth $3.44 billion in 2021. It is further expected to have a CAGR of 13.3% between 2022 and 2023. Automating the processes saves costs for retailers and offers buyers a personalized experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boost in contactless payments and autonomous shopping, which have been imbibed in the retail landscape. Contactless payments save customers from the hassle of entering a PIN or signing receipts. Mastercard’s global consumer study indicates that 8 out of 10 shoppers use contactless payment options. This experience goes a step ahead when AI is leveraged for creating cashier-less stores. In this customers just need to scan their phones to select the products and then the amount will be deducted from their bank account.
ii. Setting return policies to maintain loyal customers
Hassle-free returns free of cost are something that every customer loves. Amazon started this trend, which was then followed by other retail brands. The frictionless return process gives the consumers the confidence to buy something online, as they know that they can either exchange or return it, in case of any issues.
Pickups are scheduled from home, for a better consumer experience and often come at minimal or no cost from the online stores. The best part is that consumers dont even have to repackage the items as the delivery boy will check them and take them for packaging and shipping back to the store.
Such convenience plays a major role in maintaining customer loyalty. Apps like QueueBuster can be used by retailers to track their sales after such return policy implementation as well as efficiently manage the inventory and relationship with customers.
iii. E-commerce chatbots for adding to the online shopping experience
Recent years have witnessed a rise in the popularity of eCommerce chatbots. As per Gartner, by 2027, these would be the primary customer service tools for 25% of the firms. Their rise in popularity can be attributed to their better customer service, lowering costs, interaction with customers on multiple channels, and always serving the customers timely. It even helps in global expansion without much overhead.
Retails can easily have better customer engagement, answer the FAQs, and automate personalized shopping experiences. Chatbots can also gather relevant data in the form of feedback, some are designed to provide multi-lingual support as well as post online sales support and tracking information. This prevents the retailers from hiring additional staff and thus significantly reduces the cost of customer support.
Creative ways for retailers to generate word-of-mouth marketing are on the rise. This involves boosting in-store experiences through the use of Augmented reality or AR, interactive kiosks, specific store apps for letting users find items easily, and digital displays with touch screens for guiding buyers through the malls.
On the other side, physical capabilities have been introduced into the digital realm through the use of AR. It lets the shoppers view the products virtually, especially try on jewelry, eyeglasses, furniture, and other such items. This makes the purchase decisions easy for them.
iv. Focusing on sustainability and reducing wastage in packaging
Development in technology has made the world a better place for humans but humans are responsible for sustainable practices. This is crucial to reduce the pressure on the environment through the generation of less waste.
E-commerce packaging force the source of the highest emission in the world because compared to purchases in-store, online purchases are six times higher. Keeping this in mind, consumers prefer recyclable and sustainable packaging of products.
Shorr’s Sustainable Packaging Consumer Report indicates that conscious efforts to buy sustainable products have been made by 76% of respondents in the last year. 86% of consumers expressed their interest in opting for retailers who are into sustainable packaging and 77% of customers expect brands to provide 100% sustainable packaging.
Embracing sustainable approaches to marketing can help retailers generate good revenue. The most important thing to avoid in this case is making customers believe that the products and packaging are eco-friendly when they are not. This is because it can alienate customers and quickly spread negative word of mouth about the retailer.
v. Personalised experience for customers
On-demand personalization has been increasingly spreading to various retail stores. Technological advancements enable retailers to provide changing product recommendations, filter emails that remove previously bought items, and help customers create their identity through advanced profiling systems.
Some best examples are Nike has come up with Nike By You which lets buyers create custom-designed sneakers with the company designers’ assistance. Similarly, Stitch Fix combines in-house stylists with NLP algorithms to provide customers with a curated collection of clothing and use their feedback to refine their services. Such a level of ultra-personalization works best in engaging customers at an emotional level and inspiring them to be loyal to the brand.
While providing personalized experiences to customers, it is important for retailers to efficiently manage their inventory, product catalog, payments, and timely display the promotions and offers to increase the traffic on the website or in-store. Apps such as QueueBuster help retailers to do all this most efficiently and effortlessly, besides offering other functional advantages.
If we observe the trends in the retail industry, all are aimed at providing a seamless customer experience. Retailers need to ensure that customers can conveniently transition from online to in-store space and vice versa. They should have a good experience irrespective of the platform they are using, such as mobile, tablet, or desktop.
Once retailers succeed in providing frictionless customer journeys, they can experience better revenue growth and survive in the competitive market.
Looking for a full stack POS application for smoothly running your retail business? Request a demo of QueueBuster today to learn how it can benefit your business.
Inventory Management Software Vs. Traditional Methods: Which Is Right For Your Business?
Inventory management is crucial for any business that deals with physical products. […]