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Five post-pandemic technologies that will reshape the future of retail

  • April 15, 2021

Retailers in the past have been pushed to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. With an increase in online shopping habits and the Covid-19 pandemic bringing physical retail to a standstill, the brick and mortar have slowly begun to rediscover their purpose in the retail spectrum. 

Fuelled by the increasing adoption of newer technologies, the digital solutions will offer an antidote to revive the industry landscape. 

Here are some technologies that may change the scope of retail in the years to come:

  1. Staff-less and chaser-less stores

With tightened social distancing norms being followed globally, stores with no cashiers and staff emerge as a key idea for the retailers. 

According to a survey by Shekel Brainweigh Ltd, a weighing company, 87 percent of customers preferred stores with contactless checkout options. 

Technologies such as the RFID tags, machine learning, computer vision systems, IoT applications, and facial recognition can be incorporated. 

Amazon introduced the “Just Walk Out” technology which enables shoppers to enter a store with their credit card as access, choose what they want and just walk out. 

The money for their purchase would be deducted from their credit cards from the bill present in the virtual card. 

The IoT applications combine the uses of computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. This will help in reducing long queues and also ensure a cashier-less store. 

2.Virtual fitting rooms 

McKinsey global report predicted that 70 percent of the business are likely to have implemented artificial intelligence by 2030. Similarly, Gartner predicted the rise of augmented reality to 100 million consumers by 2020 and it has been proven correct. Thus, the roles of these cannot be dismissed. 

Virtual fitting rooms are one of the most engaging technologies in the retail industry which uses augmented reality. “Try before you buy approach” could be hard for businesses to implement due to the pandemic restrictions but the AR technologies come in handy to play the role.

By using virtual fitting rooms, customers could ‘try on’ their products like clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics virtually and get a feel of how it may look in real life. 

Sephora recorded great gains with his AR technologies in 2020 and even other retailers such as Kendra Scott, and Etsy are using this technology, which is here to stay. 

3.Digitized personal-interaction with customers 

Giving customers a personalized feeling plays a critical role in the success of the retail industry. This can be achieved through machine learning and data sciences as these technologies’ personalization abilities can tailor suggestions to match the needs of customers. 

E-commerce stores in the past have shown success due to this personalization. Machine learning can adapt to the needs of customers and provide them suggestions that may drive them to purchase. 

Bluetooth low energy and RFID technologies are not far behind in helping retailers achieve personalization with customers. These technologies use a minimal amount of power and can help to collect data from customers that can be used for retail personalization. 

Retailers can even explore chatbots for further interactive sessions with customers and the chatbots have become common now even on WhatsApp business accounts. These bots will help better communicate on offers, provide deals, recommendations, website navigation, and make purchase orders. 

4.Demand forecasting 

With machine learning, companies can forecast customer demands. These innovative technologies improve automatic demand forecasting, relationship management for customers and suppliers, logistics, manufacturing and marketing, and inventory planning. 

The demand forecast helps the business to prevent overstocking, reduce warehouse and logistics expenses and also in the longer run, improve sustainable consumption and production. This technology will remain relevant for the years to come.

5.Inventory management with real-time data 

In 2021, optimizing inventory management with real-time data is set to be ramped up. 

By combining real-time data from applications running on cameras with backend monitoring, applications such as pick-up service and preventing theft can be overseen. 

When a firm named Avanade implemented this inventory management, the new system provided real-time information on the movement of goods from warehouses to stores. 

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