by Nasreen Shaikh | 23 Feb 2018
As digital technologies are advancing faster than ever, retail industries and the like are jumping on the bandwagon to deliver digital solutions to their customers.
Whether we like it or not, digital is almost apart of all aspects of our lives, so when we’re considering purchasing a product, these advances in technology make our purchasing decisions that much easier. Take Amazon’s Alexa, and the increasing use of chatbots – who would have thought a few years ago that we would be telling digital speakers and intelligence to buy products for us?
According to IBM’s report, here are 5 digital technologies that can be applied to retail businesses that promise significant results:
1. Voice-activated Software
Traditional shopping is becoming a thing of the past, with smart software taking over. According to the report, 19% of U.S consumers say they have already made a purchase through a voice-activated device like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home, and another third expect to do so within a year.
With numbers like these, we can easily see that consumers are ready for alternative methods of shopping. They’re more interested and open to the idea of purchasing through voice-activated software like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa intelligent agents, and chatbots.
Speaking comes a lot more naturally to human beings than navigating a PC, thus, we have reason to believe that voice-activated technologies will become a popular way to shop in 2018.
2. Retail Mobile Devices
There was a time where customers would often come into a retail store, and know more about product ratings and features than store employees. Well, retailers now have technology options that give employees the ability to become digital stars.
For example, retail outlet Nordstrom, have equipped associates with mobile devices that let an employee check inventory at all stores for an item, size, or colour not in stock in that location, and place an order on the spot.
Whether the shopper is holding a garment in her hand or placing an order for delivery to her home, the employee can use the mobile device to accept payment without going to the checkout counter.
Even IBM’s Store Engagement app – It allows store associates to use a mobile device to find the customers order and other information – such as other products to recommend based on that shopper’s browsing and purchasing history, and even her posts on social media!
3. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality gives people the amazing ability to bring elements of the virtual world into our real world.
Augmented reality apps allow consumers to visualise products, such as how a sofa might look in your living room, or virtually trying on a hat to see if it suits you.
Retailers are going crazy for it!
ovestock.com for example, updates its iOS app with an AR furniture feature called ‘View In My Room’. A shopper can tap on a product to see its three-dimensional image, then opens their smartphone camera to scan the room, allowing them to move the image of the product to see how it looks in different spaces in the room.
Its expected that 2018 will be the year where enhanced visualisation features become commonplace in mobile apps, especially for retailers in home furnishings, apparel and jewellery.
4. Efficient Technology
Digital technologies can play a major role in making delivery and returns efficient and hassle free.
From artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles, retailers are now trying to do all they can to improve efficiency, and make receiving and returning orders a convenient process.
Luggage brand Tumi, now provides shoppers with accurate estimates of delivery times – before major delivery services can. The service takes into account carrier performance, weather and other data to show the shopper when they can expect their order.
5. Personalization Technology
Personalization goes a long way in retail.
Organic cosmetic brand – JuiceBeauty use AI driven features to allow consumers to click an icon to see items they might like, based on their purchases, trending items and products popular on social media. Almost like a personal concierge.
Even supermarkets have joined the buzz. The Kroger Co. tracks what customers buy and reminds them of items they may need to restock by putting them at the top of search results on its website. These personalised search results resulted in a 33% increase in add-to-cart clicks on items in those top positions.
One size rarely fits all, and digital technologies are enabling online retailers to personalise consumers’ shopping journey to give them nudges on what they want.
Its important for retailers to recognise that there are so many innovations in technology that can be deployed to improve their services, and there’s sure to be more to innovations to come in the future.
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