The retail landscape has seen massive growth in recent years by using technology at its advantage. Those in the retail sphere always seek an edge to win big by taking their business operations a notch further. With that in mind, smart retailers keep an eye on emerging industry trends to stay ahead of the curve. As technological innovations are constantly changing the face of retail, let’s jump right into the top 10 retail trends that we are likely to see in 2022.
- Q-Commerce As The New Age Of E-Commerce
Q-commerce commonly referred to as ‘on-demand delivery’ and ‘e-grocery,’ is undoubtedly pioneering the next-gen of delivery. It is booming as speed and convenience are rapidly becoming the sought-after aspects in retail. Recent supply-chain disruptions led to the emergence of q-commerce, a new sub-vertical of the online grocery segment. The quick-commerce model indicates rapid delivery for a unique last-mile experience. You can expect more advanced sustainable practices to optimize the speed of delivery time in 2022 for the instant gratification of customers.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Machine Learning (ML) For Smart Shopping
AI and ML have already been radically transforming the way how retailers operate. The behemoths of the online grocery landscape like Amazon and Walmart use AI to spearhead the digital world to make the customers' lives comfortable like never before. AI can automate in-store operations, reduce operational expenses in retail stores, help in personalization and customer insights, enhance intelligent product searches, streamline store operations, improve supply chain management and logistics, and more. ML is used to drive sales, anticipate demand, increase customer lifetime value, attract new customers, etc. Chatbots will be extensively utilized to facilitate customer services.
- IoT For Superior Customer Experience (CX) In The Modern Retail Landscape
Although IoT in the retail industry is not a concept that is unheard of, its potential is yet to be fully tapped, which you can expect in 2022. The growth of IoT in retail is because of its ability to provide seamless shopping experiences. IoT can help analyze customer behavior, innovate in-store experiences, customize the communications based on the IoT-collected data, and personalize the in-store experience with Beacons and in-store robot customer attendants. When used with ML algorithms, it will be easier to evaluate customer data in real-time and unlock valuable insights.
- Self-Checkout And Cashierless Stores For Frictionless Shopping
Consumers want more seamlessness and fewer hassles when shopping, so self-checkout and cashier-less stores are gaining momentum as a retail trend in 2022. Cashier-less stores are the pioneer of phygital (physical and digital) experiences. It’s popularity boils down to the fact that it offers a smooth shopping experience and skirts the customers’ pain points. Amazon Go store is a perfect example whose innovations are the lessons for the entire retail landscape. It provides incredible shopping experiences with no lines or checkouts, and customers can just grab and go.
- Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) To Gain More Momentum
Retailers are adopting the BOPIS model to meet customer expectations as it is tremendously advantageous for retailers and customers alike. Customers are indulging in the practice of purchasing items online and picking them up in-store due to factors like necessity, flexibility, preferences, and convenience. With this model, retailers can combine online and in-store experiences to provide their customers with a hassle-free way to shop. BOPIS strategy also supports omnichannel goals. Major brands that offer BOPIS are Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and Petco.
- In-Store Returns To Convert More Shoppers Who Visit The Store
Automated and contactless in-store returns will be a significant trend in 2022 as easy returns increase customer satisfaction. Technologies like self-service return kiosks allow customers to return items conveniently but without waiting in long queues. As customer experience has surpassed all other criteria, self-service return kiosks provide frictionless in-store expertise and try to convert more shoppers who visit. Seamless returns management would benefit both retailers and customers in terms of convenience and drastically improve the post-purchase experiences.
- Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) To Communicate With Shoppers In Effective Ways
There is a growing demand for smart ESLs, which is why this market will be worth $2.57 Billion by 2028. Retailers are turning to ESL and investing in retail label shelf holders as they provide accurate pricing across channels, reduce operational costs, enable dynamic pricing, improve omnichannel experience and paybacks. The best part is that the pricing of the products can get updated on its own whenever there is a change. Electronic price tags have become the portal for cloud-based apps that focus on data analytics and automation in store. Kroger and Walmart are significant examples here.
- Voice Commerce As A Great Facilitator In Online Shopping
Voice commerce can dramatically change the retail landscape. Voice-enabled searches are becoming immensely popular across nations. You can take Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana as an example. As voice search is faster, it can make your shopping experience quicker and better like never before. An increase in the adoption of smart speakers by consumers and their affinity to use voice assistants for shopping implies that voice-based eCommerce is a massive disruption for online retail. This suggests that retailers should focus on devising voice search optimization strategies to win big.
- Immersive Technologies For Interactive Customer Experiences
With the rise of retail eCommerce, immersive technologies such as 3D modeling, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are massive. You all must have heard about “try-before-you-buy” experiences which are certainly gaining immense popularity. Retailers leverage AR and VR solutions to provide customers with a frictionless shopping experience, driving conversations, improving brand awareness, and more. Brands like IKEA, Apple, Speedo, Adidas are prominent examples of using AR to take their customers’ visualizations to the next level.
- Digital Signage To Blur The Border Between Offline And Online
Digital signage will gain more momentum in the retail sphere. It should be core to your retail technology as it can drive more traffic, engage retail store visitors, create a lasting impression, give an edge against competitors, etc. It gives rise to a 'phygital' environment that accumulates inputs from customers visiting physical stores, analyzes them, and shows the right messages at the right time to the most desired audience. Retailers have understood that immersive and interactive digital signage can help them touch the right chords of their shoppers that connect them to the brand.
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