Smart Retail Solutions That Change Ecommerce
A world where nearly everyone has a smartphone has led to a complete revolution in the retail industry. The pandemic that swept the globe fueled this change, speeding up the pace of technological advances in the field of commerce.
What impact did this have on the industry of online shopping?
Today’s customers are always connected and it has a direct impact on their behavior online. Consumer expectations and preferences are changing, and so are shopping patterns. For instance, contactless shopping has recently become a requirement. People feel safer buying online, and so it’s no longer a nice thing to have but an absolute necessity.
The article below will highlight the most important innovative retail solutions that will be a key element in the field of commerce both from the perspective of the consumer and retailers’ perspective.
What is the definition of smart retail?
Smart retail solutions is the use of technology that is smart in the world of commerce to provide consumers with an improved, faster, safer and more efficient shopping experience. It’s all about using innovative technologies to digitally improve traditional shopping experiences for consumers and business alike. This implies that online shopping experiences will happen (or will be made available) within traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
The benefits of using innovative solutions for retailing for customers
With smart solutions for retail Shoppers can benefit from:
Smooth user journey
A successful shopping trip could end in frustration in the event that the buyer is in a lengthy line. Customers who are impatient tend to abandon their carts. Long waits can negatively impact the loyalty of customers. Technology like frictionless payment or self-checkouts help retailers alleviate this problem making shopping more smooth and enjoyable.
Innovative retail solutions can help make online shopping more convenient for shoppers. Advanced retail systems using AR let them shop from the comfort of their homes. The use of AR systems gained popularity in the fashion business during the pandemic that hit the world. This new technology increases the probability of closing transactions.
Customers often look for items on the internet prior to purchasing them at the physical shop. With smart retail technology retailers can provide seamless shopping experiences across all channels. They could e.g. offer discounts that are personalized for products that customers are looking at online when they enter the aisle in the store in which these items are located.
As the world gradually recovered from the lockdown, and retailers opened their shops and stores, the necessity of ensuring the safety of customers and their comfort was the main concern for every retailer. Smart retail solutions like e.g. contactless payment eliminate the need to talk to an individual, making shoppers more secure in shopping. Furthermore, advances in e-commerce payment systems have made checkout and the using credit cards safer for final customers.
Benefits of smart solutions to retail for retailers
Smart retail solutions can also benefit sellers in many ways.
Shopping applications’ interactions with customers offer retailers rich information about the behavior of consumers and their buying habits. These data can be used to tailor-made and effective promotions, such as discounts on certain products or customized suggestions.
Optimizing the supply chain
Retailers can utilize sensors or computer vision to monitor the quality of goods in every step of the supply chain. Solutions that ensure the quality of goods and time of delivery make the transportation logistics more efficient, too.
Furthermore, they are able to better estimate the quantity of items they can sell over a particular time to avoid overstocking or understocking. It also helps sellers reduce the amount of waste they produce and prevents freezing stock.
Optimizing layouts and processes
With the help of smart retail solutions, merchants get insights into the most efficient areas of traffic and the customer’s behavior inside the stores. They can use these insights to improve the management of their employees and manage the flow of customers through their stores and improve the business processes.
Technologies that disrupt E-commerce and retail in 2021
Let’s examine seven emerging technologies that are disrupting the retail market: IoT, Beacons, Augmented Reality/Virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, front office bots as well as smartphones for points of Sale (POS), and loyalty apps. We’ll give you tips on why and how you can incorporate them in your business to provide your customers with the kind of shopping experience they’re used to.
Internet of things (IoT)
Applications, devices and almost everything else we use are increasingly connected through the internet. According Statista, the world currently has around 10 million IoT devices worldwide. This amount is expected to rise to 25 billion by 2030.
Together with analytics for retail data, IoT devices provide deep insights into consumer behaviour. They also boost the variety of channels retailers can employ to connect with existing and new customers. These channels can be utilized to target outreach and personal promotions that increase loyalty of customers and improve retention rates.
IoT sensors are also able to monitor the assets of stores beginning with shopping carts and ending with hardware used by stores. Retailers also make use of IoT sensors to monitor customers’ movement throughout their stores. They also make use of the data to improve store layouts and make customers’ visit more efficient.
In the end, IoT solutions allow retailers to better manage their inventory and streamline supply chains. For example, they can gain real-time information about out of inventory items and replenish the items prior to running out. Not to be overlooked are smart shelves that inform retailers about the current stock levels, providing them with data such as the date and time when items will disappear from the aisles of stores and need to be replenished.
Beacons are tiny Bluetooth devices that communicate with Bluetooth-enabled software by transmitting radio signals. Retailers can add Beacons to the shelves of their retail stores and send information about products’ specifications, images prices specials, limited-time offers or any other details. The links will be logged by the app for shopping on the smartphone of the customer when they are within a certain distance of the Beacon.
This is why Beacons offer a unique chance for retailers to connect with the customers who are shopping. When they are linked to appropriate external applications, they can provide value by providing the correct timed message about an item that the buyer has already studied.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
AR and VR combine physical shopping experiences with digital world. Retailers make use of these technologies to enhance their experiences and display their products in a way that is engaging.
Virtual fitting is the process of blending the virtual image of an object on a picture of a shopper’s or video in real-time, or even a live social media feed. The tools that are already made are excellent but they’re not always hitting the right way in terms of meeting the business objectives. When it comes to more complex products, retailers may need to think about creating a custom virtual trial solution.
With virtual fitting experiences customers are able to try products any time they’d like. They’re in control over the buying process and can make use of the channels they prefer and get a customized experience based upon their preferences and prior engagements.
Virtual reality and AR are frequently utilized in the world of the world of luxury retail. Through virtual fitting experiences sellers can position themselves in the channels that are driving luxury retail in the domestic market as well as internationally. They are also able to record customer interactions with the products to gain a better understanding of the market. This allows them to have better predictions of future demand, reduce the costs of transportation of products between boutiques, and generate higher revenues.
Beauty and fashion retailers are also able to offer virtual fitting rooms that enable customers to try on items without having to hold them or wait in line for a fitting room and make the experience more efficient. This also means that retailers can have less space to fit rooms in their stores , and show more of their products.
The value for clients
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Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence lets retailers be able to accurately forecast demand and improve pricing and provide customized product suggestions.
Retailers face a myriad of issues with managing stocks. AI-powered demand predictions help to understand the seasonality of demand and improve supply chains to prevent the misalignment of supply and demand. Demand prediction also allows the use of data to make informed decisions about profits margins and risk-management as well as planning staff and capacity. Additionally, avoiding stock-outs can improve customer satisfaction.
Price optimization tools analyze information from various sources in real-time to aid retailers monitor and adjust the prices of their products. Price optimization helps retailers will be able to understand how consumers react to changes in prices and adjust them in order to satisfy sales goals and objectives for business.
Price optimization could also be in the form that of dynamic pricing. This involves selling the same product to different customers at different costs. Segmentation is based on geography, demography behaviour, personal preferences or other special occasions. Dynamic pricing plans are a great instrument for strategic planning that could e.g. find the best price to penetrate for entering the market for the first time or determine a discount price to clear out old stocks.
AI can enhance marketing efforts by enabling retailers to provide highly personalized product suggestions. Through the analysis of customer data, AI can discover the most specific requirements of each buyer and offer relevant suggestions that take into consideration the individual’s preferences as well as factors such as e.g. seasonality.
With this information retailers can provide relevant recommendations and increase the likelihood of cross-selling or upselling existing customers. Giving personalized suggestions as a customer completes the purchase may also boost the size of the basket in ongoing transactions.
Additionally, recommendations for products could aid in making shopping for groceries or FMCG shopping easier for the consumer. AI will be able to recognize what items shoppers buy often and offer suggestions for buying certain items before the consumer realizes that it’s time to make the purchase.
If you know what customers are buying often, you can determine what they will require and at what time, creating an excellent opportunity to market your product in a targeted manner.
Lorenzo Abbatemarco, Dmart Ops Senior Regional Manager PedidosYa/Delivery Hero
Artificial-led size prediction based on AI
The process of shopping for clothes online can be a challenge because sizes typically vary across brands. Fashion stores can employ AI-based algorithms that suggest precise dimensions for the customers they serve by studying the size a buyer usually chooses, the information they input, as well as larger databases of the other customers who have similar choices. AI is also able to assess sizes of different brands and notify the customer whether a size they are considering is larger or smaller when compared against other brand.
From the standpoint of the retailer from a retailer’s perspective, this tool can be instrumental in reducing the rate of return for clothes and shoes and the expense of handling these returns. Customers can make better decisions regarding sizes that increase their trust in the brand and their loyalty.
Front bots in the office
Customers are looking for convenience in customer service. This provides support at any time and where they need. Chatbots in front office are essential to provide this easy customer service. The bots are designed to help customers resolve their issues upon request or provide advice on particular products.
Chatbots enable retailers to make significant savings on customer service personnel. They are able to operate 24 hours a day without having to have staff on the job. Continuous availability can also increase customer satisfaction.
Mobile Points-of-Sale as well as Grab-and-go system
Points of sale that are mobile (mPOS) permit customers to pay for their purchases fast when they choose cashless transactions. With mPOS, associates at stores are able to service and assist customers from any location in the store, cutting down on long checkout lines as well as decreasing losses from customers who walk out. This method, first introduced by Apple several years ago and is now becoming more popular from retailers, especially in peak times.
Grab-and-go systems, on other hand, operate in a way that is automatic. They let customers shop without having to make a purchase. Customers enter the store , and their purchase is captured by camera and the scales. The purchase is then automatically debited through a payment or store application after customers leave. These solutions allow store managers to reduce queues and generate more revenue. From the perspective of consumers the seamless experience is a time-saver. Amazon Go is currently the major player in the grab-and-go system.
People like to be given a reward for their loyalty which is why offering rewards and discounts to customers who are already loyal is essential in ensuring repeat purchases and building long-term relationships. Rewards programs for loyalty should not be neglected by retailers. according to Hubspot the loyalty programs have a 60-70% probability of selling to existing customers however the likelihood that they will sell to brand new customer is just 5-20 percent. If you take acquisition costs into account increasing retention is an option that is more profitable.
A lot of retailers are still focusing on the old-fashioned methods to build loyalty e.g. the offer of a free vegetable for each $50 spent. But, by combing loyalty apps with data analytics for consumers retailers can provide not just generic promotions promotional offers, but also custom-designed promotions that boost the number of customers returning and offer retailers useful data on their spending patterns, frequency and basket mix.
E-commerce is getting more sophisticated with intelligent retail solutions
The global lockdown has changed the retail industry for the better which forced companies to speed up digitization. The use of smart retail has become crucial in creating frictionless and highly personal experiences that consumers of today look for. They also ensure that the shopping experience is safe and exciting, which is what is required in the post-pandemic world.