Technology has taken over and is here to make shopping experiences go above and beyond expectations. We saw retail’s roughest year in 2017 with more than 6,985 store closures in the United States. However, it’s not difficult to see why when we’re all presently holding a technological device or have one near us. New technologies have the ability to meet the customers’ and businesses’ demands and needs that retail stores lack. These new advances will offer customers consistency and the ability to tend to customers’ shopping patterns personally.
Apps clearly provoked this transformation, but now retail is dabbling in more advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Artificial intelligence carries the ability to aid brands and retailers in predictive forecasting, merchandising, and capacity planning, which provides customers with greater product availability and quicker delivery. Artificial intelligence can also create customer retention and loyalty through personalization. The opportunity to leverage data to uniquely fit each consumer builds stronger relationships. Something else to look for in the future is facial recognition. Facial recognition is expected to break out as another tactic to make customer’s shopping experience personalized and successful.
Blockchain is a digital record that reassures product safety, authenticity, and ethical standards. Blockchain microchips identify whether an item is genuine, if it was stolen, and its history. The first industry-wide blockchain should be launched this year by De Beers, a world-wide diamond producer. Though in the early stages, blockchain secures authenticity, which is an important aspect to the fashion industry.
Contactless shopping is currently being seen in China. Customers scan codes and use WeChat, a mobile messaging app, to pay. With no sales people, sensor-filled shelves monitor theft. In the U.S., Rebecca Minkoff’s New York location already allows customers to purchase items without a sales associate. Amazon and Walmart are also aiming to launch contactless retail stores this year.