Over the years analytics has created an important space for itself in the retail industry where it helps to bridge the gap between what retailers have to offer and what the customers want. E-commerce, having had the benefit of tracking cookies and web analytics tools, calibrated every aspect of the online shopping experience but on the other side, brick and mortar retail had not been as fortunate. However, this has not prevented physical retail from thriving, with instore analytics expected to reach $3.3 billion by 2024 at 21.6% CAGR.
The ongoing pandemic has indeed accelerated the demand for certain technologies/trends that will either help various industries in maintaining the “new” standard operating procedures at the workplace or transforming the way business is done in order to generate new sources of revenues
Let us pick up some industries and evaluate how the pandemic has made way for certain technologies/trends:
Enterprises like Hotels, Retail Malls, Restaurants, Cafes, etc. that have built their Guest Wi-Fi networks with MAC addresses as unique user identity will now struggle to provide a seamless experience to their guests. Using MAC reauthorization such enterprises identify and provide seamless wi-fi connections to their returning guests or even allow them to roam between multiple venues. With this new update, guests will now be forced to re-authenticate their devices via captive portal every 24 hours as their device MAC address will change. This will not only disrupt the connections of guests every day during their stay at any hotel but also returning customers will not be recognized automatically and would need to verify themselves every time they visit the venue.
The fear unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered retail stores across the globe. This has led to retailers looking for ways to ensure business continuity and make up for losses that have happened over the last few months. As governments mandate people to stay indoors and the chances of stores re-opening is still a matter of contention, it is natural that consumers will turn to online shopping. It is imperative for retailers therefore, to give serious thought to digital channels as the dominant distribution channel for the next few months until the pandemic subsides. Based on secondary research and customer sentiments gleaned first-hand, here are some of the technology trends that are expected to unravel in retail in the near future.
Retailers all over the world are trying to provide a personalized experience to end customers and grappling with store optimization concerns. They are in a quest to gather more insights into customer demographics, identify returning customers and devise cross-selling and upselling strategies to increase profitability and order value. They also want to mitigate the frustration that customers face as they wait in long queues at the billing counters or kiosks during checkout. In order to enable store optimization, retailers want to minutely track a customer’s journey in the store to get a better idea of their buying patterns. Read HSC's key takeaways from NRF 2020 with regards to the trends in the retail industry.
As the digital and in-store experiences blur and become more consistent, digital innovations are opening exciting new possibilities for retailers. Point of Sale systems or POS has changed the face of the retail sector making purchasing and maintaining the count of products more accessible. The emergence of digital/mobile POS has had a significant impact on enriching customer satisfaction and shopping experience.
In today’s world, guest Wi-Fi is ranked among the top desired amenity across the globe and therefore it is a critical component of the digital experience for many companies. A frictionless Wi-Fi experience is defined by various factors which play an important role in the end-user experience such as accessibility, speed, coverage, and security of the network. Though much has been done for improving the speed and coverage part, however when it comes to providing seamless guest access to Wi-Fi there is still a long way to go.
There is another element to analytics that isn’t as glitzy but equally (and some would say, more) important: “How do we improve operational efficiencies” using analytics? Operational efficiencies relate to an inward-looking improvement, focused on workforce employees, how they work, what they do and when, to be able to reduce revenue leakage, be at the right place for maximum impact and more. Obviously, improving operational efficiency results in customer experience improvements as well.
One of the most effective ways to reach the consumer with targeted messages is to deliver it to their mobile devices. And being able to deliver it at the right time increases the effectiveness manifold. After all, would you remember to use a pharmacy discount coupon for 20% mailed to you 2 weeks ago, or would you remember to use if that coupon magically popped up when you are at CVS Pharmacy shopping?
That is the power of proximity marketing!
Running an e-commerce portal can be frustrating especially if your website is vulnerable to glitches and doesn’t perform up to the mark. So, you have an e-commerce portal with payment gateways and shopping carts. Not to forget, you are looking after an extensive set of features like product catalogs, customer data, market automation and lots more. This calls for some stringent software testing!
Digital Transformation is much more than a disruption or technology. A case in point is the retail giant Walmart. Amazon's epic takeover of the online retail market has compelled companies like Walmart to adjust or perish. Toys R Us is a good example. Toys R Us was one of the world’s most famous toy brands which buckled under due to growing online competition. They filed for bankruptcy last September and are now shutting down their stores. Walmart, however, is clearly trying to up the ante as it plans to add 500 more pick-up towers to its already existing network of brick and mortar stores and 200 pickup towers. It is trying to blur the line between online and offline sales by allowing the buyer to pick-up online ordered products from any of its pickup towers. In the process it gives buyers discounts for picking up their stuff, thereby, saving delivery cost. With an employee base of more than 2.3 Mn, retail giant Walmart has a good insight on purchasing habits of people. Recent retail industry reports suggest that they are now prioritizing the extraction of client data. With data being the new currency, they have realized that to continue succeeding in their game they will need to transform how and what they sell. Such a paradigm shift in their way of doing business has enabled them to maintain a thorough catalog, while providing significant value to their customers.
Over the years, thanks to technology and world wide web, retail marketing has undergone a sea change. It has given consumers many different options in which they can shop apart from physically going to a store. However, for a customer, shopping is an experience, so the expectations from an online … read more
Today's consumers are no longer dependent on their local store to shop. With a world of retailers and brands on their palm, customers have literally become a ‘point of sale’ with their preferred devices. Consumers today, no matter wherever they are, shop from their computers, tablets, and smartphones. They are free to make choices and choose their desired methods of payment. Whether a customer would like his order to be shipped to his home or picked up from a store, all depends on his will and convenience.
When retailers aim to collect more data about their customers, they follow larger sources of market information. These vast pools of analytics, facts and figures are known as Big Data
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