If you’re in eCommerce or retail, you’re probably already aware that the competition is super-fierce. Besides big players like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, you also need to compete against a great number of small online stores that continue to flood the market every day.
Attracting new customers and keeping a steady revenue is not an easy task so, if you want to stand out from the competition, you need to keep track of the latest tech innovations.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 6 solutions and tools that we believe are the most beneficial in retail.
Chatbots and Personal Shopping Assistants
AI-powered chatbots and personal mobile shopper apps are being widely adopted across all industries, including retail.
Chatbots provide valuable services within an already familiar and very convenient conversational interface. They can be used to automatically handle simpler requests or relocate more complex ones to professional customer support agents. Many companies including eBay and Sephora are already using the chatbot potential to boost customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Personal shopper apps can also be operated by a human. This type of shopper assistant service is generally easier to implement compared to those powered by AI. However, AI-powered personal shopper apps are considered to be more efficient in terms of both performance and costs.
The majority of big retail brands are already using mobile apps to leverage the full potential of their mobile audience. In retail, apps can do so much more than just listing products and enable customers to buy directly from their phones. Here’s a list of the most important advantages of mobile technologies for retailers:
- Send push notifications to target customers with discounts and personalized offers;
- Improve customer experience by allowing them to access personal accounts, collect loyalty points, track orders, and redeem coupons.
- Mobile payments (Android Pay, Apple Pay, etc.)
- Provide access to customer data like shopping behavior, geolocation, activity, and preferences, as well as to valuable mobile analytics.
Inventory Management Software
When it comes to growing your retail business, managing inventory is definitely one of the biggest challenges.
In fact, as order volumes begin to increase and your business expands into new markets and across multiple sales channels, manually managing your retail operations will become almost impossible. What’s worse, insisting on doing so might result in various human errors leading to a damaged reputation or marketplace suspension.
Using an inventory management system helps you eliminate the possibility of such scenarios happening and offers a number of other benefits, such as:
- Making the process of managing your inventory a lot easier, saving you time and money;
- Reducing the risk of overselling;
- Leading to cost savings by helping you shorten supplier lead time, reduce obsolete and excess stock, calculate your safety stock, etc.;
- Tracking low stock levels and identifying re-order points for each product to help you avoid the occurrence of stock-outs;
- Providing valuable sales data to allow for more data-driven business decisions.
If you want to know more, check out ApparelMagic’s guide to inventory management for a more thorough explanation.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented and virtual reality are set to disrupt the market and completely transform the shopping experience as we know it. By 2025, the market for VR and AR in retail is expected to reach $1.6 billion. According to stats, more than 60% of internet users are interested in VR, and nearly 65% said that AR and VR technologies would definitely change the way they shop.
Even though AR and VR in the retail industry are still in their early stages, they certainly promise something new, modern, and innovative. They can be used to plan, research, design, and even improve the shopper experience. They also offer a number of benefits when considering how to appeal to shoppers’ needs, especially when they are constantly changing.
Innovative Payment Methods
Many retail companies are actively adopting advanced payment options such as NFC contactless payments, products like Android Pay, and mobile points of sale – all with the aim to provide customers with more secure and convenient payment.
Apps can use different third-party payment processors that provide a smooth, simplified checkout experience like Stripe and PayPal.
Or take for example Amazon Go. It offers a checkout-free experience, allowing consumers to take what they need and then simply leave the store! The platform uses deep learning technologies, sensor fusion, and computer vision to automatically detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a consumer’s virtual cart.
Machine Learning and Data Analytics
With the help of web and mobile products, retailers can get access to big amounts of customer data, including demographics, location, personal preferences, and shopping habits. This information can be used to improve the customer experience by providing more personalized deals and product suggestions.
Machine learning and data analytics can contribute to a better customer experience in multiple ways. For instance, an algorithm can use shopping history to make future purchase assumptions or use search history to offer relevant product suggestions.
Adopting these 6 modern technologies will help you increase your brand’s exposure and recognition, boost sales, and grow your business.
However, no matter which approaches or tools you decide to choose, you must never forget that customers play a key role in your retail business. So, if you want to see great results, you need to focus on providing an outstanding customer experience across all your retail channels: brick-and-mortar store, website, or mobile app.