Updated: May 10, 2021
We are officially in 2020 and everyone is wondering what this year will bring to retail. Will it deliver a fatal blow to “brick and mortar,” or will there be a rebound for that category of retail? For retail technology, advancements have given many retail and e-commerce companies a lot more opportunity to improve their customer experience. By analyzing buyer behavior and utilizing technology for store fronts, will retailers be able to shift their strategies and stay relevant in this new world? Here are the trends we predict that will drive retail in 2020.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
For the first time, consumers will see a lot more augmented and virtual reality outside of video games in 2020. Retailers have been using AR and VR to enhance customer experience online by helping them browse and even a virtual visit to the “fitting room.” Extended reality can help shoppers preview furniture in their home, “try on” makeup to find the perfect shade, and even allow buyers to try out vehicles without ever having to go to the dealership.
With the demand to enhance customer online shopping experience and advancements in technology, extended reality will continue to grow within retail in the upcoming years.
While Big Data analyses of customer data has privacy issues to overcome, the retail industry gains from using the data to create solutions that improve in-store customer experience. While it is a fine line, Doubleclick, now acquired by Google, overcame legal hurdles for its business model and it was only a matter of time that “real-life” data would be harvested and utilized for commercial benefit. Predictive analytics allows the retail industry to use big data to personalize in-store experience. It also allows retailers to analyze consumer purchasing behavior, personalize shopping experience both online and in-store and improve supply chains.
Internet of Things
As IoT continues to grow, in 2020 we will see it cultivate further within the retail world. Embracing IoT in the retail industry includes alerting consumers of current sales as they are in proximity of stores, getting notified to repurchase and replenish items they have bought, and allowing better tracking of inventory for restocking and increasing efficiency in retail operations.
Computer vision based technology will revolutionize retail in 2020. Visual search has helped many shoppers drop a photo into Google Images to allow them to search for a specific item. The data from the Google Image search is used for artificial intelligence and opens the door for AI-powered search. AI-powered search allows shoppers find and purchase the product, or similar ones by just snapping a photo.
Recommended engines can also help consumers find items new content. Platforms like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon will use AI to suggest new movies, songs or items according to consumer behavior.
Personalized shopping increases customer experiences both online and in-store. For online retail, big corporations are adding a video-based shopping experience for their buyers. By showcasing the product through video, buyers can better visualize the product on themselves. Retailers are also looking to connect with potential customers through sending personalized automated messages and connecting buyers to employees and allowing one on one engagement.
In-store personalized shopping experiences can include voice command to quickly navigate catalogs and products. Using voice command makes searching more effective and convenient for the buyer. Another way retailers can improve in-store shopping experience is by using computer vision to detect which products consumers pick-up or touch. They can then utilize digital content to further market the product to the consumer.
All in all, this will be a seminal year for retail. We predict that in 2020, physical retail will turn the corner using technology and improved insights to forever transform the experience of shopping in stores.
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K Dowd. 5 Retail Tech Trends To Watch For in 2020. https://biztechmagazine.com/article/2019/12/5-retail-tech-trends-watch-2020
T Johnson. 15 Innovative Retail Trends To Watch in 2020. https://tinuiti.com/blog/ecommerce/retail-trends/
B Marr. The Top 10 Technology Trends In Retail: How Tech Will Transform Shopping In 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/11/25/the-top-10-technology-trends-in-retail-how-tech-will-transform-shopping-in-2020/#61b08a284e03
S Reda. Taking Stock Of Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Headed and How Long It Might Take To Get There – Stores: Nrf’s Magazine. https://stores.org/2019/12/02/coming-soon/