Technology is transforming the way we do business and dictating how businesses can remain competitive. From one industry to another, technology is constantly evolving – retail technology is no different.
Every year seems to bring an exciting burst of new trends and features that build on the success of previous developments, and 2018 has a lot more in store for us. From the rising use of artificial intelligence to a greater focus on personalisation to an even larger pivot towards the online space, 2018 is loaded with tech-related trends for businesses looking to leverage retail technology.
In the following sections, we run through 3 of the latest trends that we believe will dominate retail technology during the rest of 2018 and, potentially, beyond that as well. Let’s start with something many perceived to be dead – QR codes!
We know, QR codes aren’t exactly one of the modern nor hip new technologies to hit the retail technology spaces. However, they were, in recent years, written off as a dying trend. Recent developments indicate that this negative trend may be shifting – especially after Apple announced that it would integrate QR code scanning into iOS 11. Now QR codes are much easier than ever to use. The only thing a person would need is to launch the iPhone’s camera and it would already be loaded with the functionality required to automatically read the codes— no extra/annoying applications required!
As smartphone utilisation continues to rise and more people keep turning to Apple, we believe this new function by Apple will encourage businesses to further leverage QR codes in their sales and marketing. Additionally, other mobile phone manufacturers will follow suit in integrating similar functionality. Expect to see many businesses incorporate these codes into their packaging, advertising, and marketing collateral to make it easy for shoppers to quickly visit their website via a wide array of mobile devices.
Artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, has been a growing trend across almost every industry. The allure of having data-enabled intelligent platforms capable of carrying out tasks and making determinations with the accurate position is just too good for any business/industry to say no to. That’s why we believe this continued growth in popularity of AI will continue heavily within the retail space in 2018.
AI has the ability to process data far more efficiently than any human ever could and when merged with other game-changing approaches like machine learning, AI has the potential to provide both consumers and retailers access to much deeper insights than were previously possible.
In the retail space, this means that retailers would be able to optimize their physical locations to increase revenue and overall profit in ways previously unimaginable. AI is the type of retail technology that will inform businesses of what their clients’ specific preferences are across a wide array of factors – from how the store can be improved, what new goods need to included, and much more! As more businesses continue to become increasingly dependent on data and insights, AI is going to be something they look at extensively.
Modern buyers like to be spoken to directly. Personalised marketing and sales are therefore critical in this modern day and age. Businesses that stick to anything less than that are at risk of losing out big time. Personalisation will continue to grow this year on two fronts – online and in-store.
Online personalisation has been a trend for a while now – the ability to leverage remarketing functions has been a big part of uniquely tailoring products to suit a potential client’s interests. However, in-store personalisation is a lot more complex, given the obvious fact that you are in a physical, face-to-face setting. In recent years, however, stores have implemented more technologies that allow retail business to personalise their clients’ in-person experience. Technology that leverages facial recognition to various loyalty systems that track preferences will contribute to the data-driven focus of modern day retail businesses. Pretty soon, don’t be surprised if you walk into a retail outlet and be identified immediately by the store’s tech.
As technology continues to drive the way in which we interact with businesses, shop, and go about our day-to-day lives, many more businesses – especially those in the retail space – will continue to adopt and look for new avenues. Stay tuned to this feed for the latest news and developments in the space! While you’re here, read about our unique EPOS system that is helping businesses from all parts of the UK.