Digitalization denotes an on-going transformation of great importance for the retail sector and the modern economy which is been built on the foundations of the industrial revolution with its roots in scientific concepts of deductive reasoning and the economic logic of maximizing self-interest. This transformation which requires digital technologies for a successful execution in its thoughtful planning and cross-collaboration across various retail functions and a careful follow-up of trends.
Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is helping retailers detect patterns and predict customer preferences, augmented technology also enables customers to try on clothes or test out room decor, and “scan and go” apps which is currently changing shoppers experience.
Retailers have also had two options in the way they have responded to the digital opportunity and vast majority see digital as an enabler of better customer service or greater operational efficiency and have hence implemented many digital technologies to improve their performance.
Digital technologies help provide greater assortment, shoppers decide, lower cost, increase loyalties and enhance customer service and the core of digital for any retailer is a wider ability to build a culture of collaboration, the capability of using data to break through functional and organizational boundaries, the art of using technology to unearth new possibilities for completely re-imagine the store of the future.
Mobile-based purchases are outpacing the growth of even online retail and the fact that bigger and more powerful smartphones are enabling better and faster shopping experiences, mobile is also emerging as a strong connector of all retail channels, seamlessly linking in-store and digital. Virtual reality on the other hand is rapidly gaining force in retail which allows retailers to transform how customers shop online and allows retailers the opportunity to convey their branding messages with fewer distractions.
The Internet of Things enables tracking and collecting data from sensors deployed across the retail value chain, including point of sale, inventory management and supply chain planning, analytical solutions process the gathered data to derive business insights on parameters such as customer movement, buying behavior and social network trends, and create business strategies to enhance business continuity and efficiency. The most commonly used sensors today are card readers, cameras, scanners, beacons, smartphones, contactless tags, and in-store digital promotion systems.
In the future, we hope AI will likely replace human consultants in the retail world and shoppers will no longer waste their time searching for an expert on the floor. AI can be an expert in everything, helping shoppers find the exact product they need, be it the right wine for dinner, the right computer for their profession, or the most flattering clothing for their body type.
Article by: Blessing Bassey