From the rise of e-commerce to developing new technologies like augmented and virtual reality, retailers are reinventing the traditional shopping experience. But what is driving this change? What will be the next big thing in retail? How can you prepare for change while staying ahead of competitors?
Retailers can stay connected with customers by using augmented reality (AR). AR is the use of a device to superimpose a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. This digital information can be used in various forms and contexts, such as labels and instructions.
How Retail Uses AR Technology
Primitive AR technology has been around since the 1980s, but it didn’t gain traction because of technology limitations. Now, retailers use AR displays to expand their shelf space by showing customers how products look in different settings. Because consumers can preview products, organizations are reducing return rates.
If retailers can’t predict consumer behavior, they can’t effectively manage their inventory levels. But AI-powered, predictive analytics capabilities evaluate demographics and location-based data, eliminating this issue.
This offers retailers more insight into customer needs and preferences, allowing them to create more personalized shopping experiences for their customers—which could lead directly back to increased sales numbers.
Automation Streamlines Processes and Reduces Costs
Retailers have only scratched the surface of what automation can do for their businesses. It streamlines processes, replacing rudimentary tasks with technology-enabled functions to automate the flow of information through a company. This frees employees to do what they do best—the part of their job that requires human judgment and creativity.
Tasks that can be automated are often labor-intensive and costly (like customer service representatives), so once you’ve automated those tasks, you’ll save money on salaries and training costs. If computers do most of the work for you, employees have more time to tackle other projects.
Customers Want Streamlined Interactions That are Informative and Personalized
Self-service retail customers want to make their purchases quickly and easily. To satisfy consumers, retailers must deliver a seamless customer journey across their channels—physical stores and e-commerce websites or apps—to ensure customers have a consistent experience, no matter where or how they shop.
AR tools allow consumers to digitally preview clothing and furniture in their homes or on their bodies, thus expanding shelf space and reducing return rates.
Using virtual reality (VR), retailers can transport customers to a store or destination they might not otherwise be able to visit—like an exotic beach or an underwater world—and allow them to shop through virtual reality headsets or mobile devices. Posh retailers, like Louis Vuitton, are flocking to the Metaverse to offer out-of-this-world experiences for a reason.
As more retailers adopt these technologies, shoppers will benefit from more personalized experiences that cater to their needs, and retailers will meet consumers where they are—on their smartphones and in VR. To learn more, schedule a consultation today.