What are the biggest 2018 retail tech trends?
As a retailer or business owner, it’s up to you to stay up to date and follow suit with what trends customers will be expecting from retailers. The consumer experience is always evolving. It’s even more so with the exponential growth rate of technology. “We will see more disruption in the next 10 years of retail than we did in the previous 1,000,” said Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet. There will be trends and key points that will change the customer experience and purchase behavior. This evolution presents opportunities for retailers to jump on and stay ahead of the game. Here are three retail tech trends that will make an impact in 2018.
Automation is sweeping across different industries, revolutionizing what may be standard across all businesses. Machines and computers are learning human behavior that will help enhance the customer experience in retail. In fact just last week, Walmart announced it would start using shelf-scanning robots to help audit its stores. The machines will check everything from inventory, prices, and even help resolve misplaced items. With these types of technological developments, there will be a wave in both economic destruction and prosperity in the next 10 to 30 years.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
Lowe’s and Gap have already been experimenting with augmented and virtual reality platforms. For example, showcasing a couch through augmented reality gives customers a view of how it looks at home before they have to haul it with them to try it. With this trend comes a whole new aspect to the customer shopping experience. Retailers need to prepare and adapt to this shift in consumer expectations. These reality applications immerse shoppers into shopping in a whole new way that is more convenient than ever. 2018 is looking more towards standardizing this type of AR/VR technology and mainstreaming it into smaller retailer’s stores.
It’s Still All About Mobile
People are already on their phones almost every minute of the day and the mobile market is growing exponentially every quarter. Smart Insights expects the mobile market to double and become a $250 billion market by 2020. Retailers are already being affected by the convenience and growth of mobile phones and their ability to satisfy a consumers’ shopping needs at any given time of the day. You can even pay for your items with your phone. Starbucks and Apple embrace that full on now with their respective payment apps.
Forbes reports, “By 2020, not only will more transactions take place via our mobile devices…we’ll also see the emergence of even more streamlined payment experiences.” Mobile e-commerce will transform how retailers and consumers will interact. This presents an opportunity for retailers to find these trends and take advantage of coming changes in the market. Retailers should now plan on how to leverage these mobile-heavy technologies and reap the benefits in 2018.