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Here Are The Upcoming Trends in The Retail Industry to Look Out For

Cutting-edge technology is taking the retail industry by storm and reshaping the shopping experience. Today’s retail trends are altering our purchasing decisions, how we buy and sell goods and where we buy them from. Likewise, customer expectations have evolved to demand incredible speed, efficiency and convenience. 

Those who stay ahead of these trends and integrate new technologies into their business will thrive. Of course, change is hard — and it can prove challenging to keep up with rapid developments. Here’s everything you should know about upcoming trends in the retail industry to propel business growth.

Why Trends are Essential for Retail

Retail businesses that follow trends demonstrate their understanding of current and future markets and how the industry changes. Adhering to innovation also makes customers feel valued. Listening to consumer preferences and improving your business strategy to meet their expectations show you care.  

Deploying digital trends also enables brands to keep pace with their competition and stay relevant in the retail industry. Borders and Blockbuster are two examples of defunct businesses — both became irrelevant with the influx of streaming services and music digitalization. 

Borders also failed to create an e-commerce platform like Barnes & Noble. Meanwhile, Circuit City liquidated its remaining stores in 2009 after becoming so big that the shopping experience turned impersonal.

Retailers must hop on the digital trends train for advanced opportunities in sales and marketing. Investing in upcoming digital trends is an investment in the company’s future.

5 Digital Trends Reshaping the Retail Industry

The retail industry has had to play catch-up in several ways following COVID-19 lockdowns. The pandemic forced retailers to modify their sales strategies and adopt the latest technologies to stay afloat. 

Nowadays, savvy retailers understand that a step back could be detrimental to business, primarily when digital trends aim to reshape the industry for the better. Here are five upcoming tech trends to look out for in retail.

1. Payment Security

Retailers have implemented cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems to automate transactions safely. In fact, a recent study found that 72% of businesses agree that cloud services are more secure than ever. 

Cloud-based POS systems are cheaper than traditional systems and are especially popular for more prominent e-commerce merchants, enabling retailers to monitor and process multiple transactions. 

The latest POS systems have even streamlined hospitality services. For example, restaurant patrons can view menus, place orders and pay for their meals from a device at their table. Hotel guests may also manage their stay from their mobile phones.

Yet, as cybercrime reaches an all-time high, customers are increasingly concerned about fraud. The retail industry should take precautions by strengthening cloud security and following best practices to protect consumers’ private information. Integrating fraud prevention, installing website identification authentication, using trusted payment providers and ensuring your business complies with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard is crucial.

2. Inventory Management

Inventory management systems deliver several advantages for the retail industry, especially e-commerce. Some of the main functions transforming retail inventory include:

  • Inventory analytics: Utilizes cloud services to track product metrics in warehouses, determine waste production and improve decision-making processes
  • Forecasting: The ability to predict inventory levels for restocking purposes, ensure the availability of popular products and understand changes in purchasing behavior
  • Warehouse automation: Tracks warehouse product inventory, locates products and ensures rapid order fulfillment times

Inventory management also improves omnichannel systems that allow consumers to view pricing in the online store and see the same price when they visit in person. However, inventory management software must aggregate data from the supply chain, consumer demand, product reconciliation and distribution logistics to achieve this.

3. Guided Selling Tools

Online shopping exploded throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and many agree it is here to stay. Retailers without an established e-commerce store miss out on lucrative opportunities to drive sales. 

For instance, luxury watch brand TAG Heuer saw triple-digit growth only weeks after transitioning to a guided shopping experience. Guided selling uses interactive artificial intelligence (AI) to assist customers in buying products by prompting them to answer questions. 

Suppose they’re looking for new shoes — customers may get asked whether they want everyday casual wear or running sneakers. The next question may inquire about extra support in the arch or ankle. 

Based on the customer’s answers, the tool will suggest several products that meet their requirements, taking the guesswork out of their decision and increasing sales revenue. Companies have deployed guided selling across all facets of the retail industry, from clothing to automobiles to home improvement.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots have made it easier for retailers to deliver round-the-clock customer service through their online stores. Customers can interact with chatbots to ask questions about a product or policy, offer assistance with shipping and tracking packages and garner consumer feedback. 

Retailers that utilize chatbots as additional team members save money and improve the customer e-commerce experience without additional overhead.

Of course, chatbots are efficient for any retail business. However, they don’t replace direct communication and support from a customer service representative.

5. Autonomous Shopping

Contactless shopping experiences have grown increasingly popular in recent years. With advanced automation underway, autonomous shopping — such as self-checkout and mobile pay — will become the norm. 

Studies show that consumers prefer the self-serve retail trend. A recent Zebra Technologies report found that 43% of shoppers prefer using smartphones to pay while half utilize self-checkout — up 23 and 19 points since 2019, respectively. About 80% of consumers expect retailers to offer the latest automation technology during purchasing.

Autonomous shopping creates a seamless buying experience and frees up associate assistance on the floor. Whatever way retailers can integrate convenience into their stores, the more they’ll meet consumer expectations.

Upcoming Trends to Change the Retail Industry for the Better

There will always be uncertainty surrounding change. Regarding the retail industry, upcoming trends that utilize digital advancements will benefit businesses and consumers alike. Retailers must embrace these developments to drive sales and achieve long-term success.