Retail Tech Trends We Can Expect to See in 2017
In the ever-changing technology landscape, both independent and big-box retailers face the challenge of keeping up with the latest retail tech trends. With competition going global, it’s more important than ever for businesses to stay ahead of the curve, creating innovative shopping environments (whether physical or digital), while streamlining shopping experiences to make transactions simple for consumers.
From omnichannel to personalization, I break down the top four retail tech trends for the New Year.
Continued significance of “Omnichannel”
2016 was the year of the brick-and-click: seamlessly fusing eCommerce with a store’s physical presence, and empowering retailers to have touch points with customers at any time, from anywhere in the world. Lightspeed launched our Omnichannel product last year, and numerous retail customers adopted this technology because their modern shoppers crave 24/7 access to their favourite brands.
We will see omnichannel evolve in two major ways in 2017. The first is that online-only retailers will continue to find success through opening stores. Amazon is a major leader here and is among great company with Warby Parker and SHOES.COM, leading the way for digital stores expanding to retail environments.
We will also see retailers evolve the use of mobile platforms, applications and payment systems to conduct business. The catch for retailers is that each of these platforms must be seamlessly integrated to create a uniform and consistent thread between each channel, for the experience to remain authentic and appealing to the shopper.
Growth in mobile tech: improving the experience for the modern shopper
Mobile technology gives retailers the unique ability to be agile. With the growing capabilities of hosting POS systems on iPads and mobile devices, customers can “skip the line”, improving the efficiency of the checkout process.
Mobile tech creates just as much of a convenience for the retailer as the customer with cloud-based systems such as Lightspeed. A storeowner could be in a hotel across the world focusing his/her efforts on manufacturing, while also maintaining a perfect connection via a tablet to what’s going on with sales/inventory in-store. It’s important to retailers that they have the capability to focus on all the other moving parts of their business, while also having their up-to-the-minute sales data travel with them.
Innovative in-store concepts & digital displays
Shopping is no longer simply about the transaction; it’s about engagement, personality and experience. Stores will look to expand beyond traditional sales to offer experiential concepts and activations including: cafes, personal stylists and hands-on workshops that add value for customers and exemplify what the business does.
In-store digital activations give consumers the opportunity to interact with the brand in a 360° way, with these activations often providing “take-home” components where customers can interact with the brand from their smartphones.
Retailers are generating sensory and personalized experiences such as VR, to keep the modern consumer attentive and in store longer.
Customizing for the individual
Personalization will continue to be another major trend of 2017. Retailers looking to increase loyalty with their consumers should appeal to them as individuals. Numerous digital platforms offer the ability to remember customer preferences and tailor browsing functions based on past searches.
In brick & mortar stores, modern customers are gravitating toward the boutique look and feel, even if the store would actually be considered a large retailer by our standard.
The more personalized the shopping experience, the more connected a consumer will feel with the brand – whether the connection takes place in store or online.
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