Despite the major changes occurring on a macro scale in the retail industry, 2019 will see retailers double down on proven retail technologies, according to a recent report from Total Retail.
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robots, virtual reality (VR) and more fill the headlines surrounding the evolution of retail, but in reality, these technologies are still very early in their adoption, if they’ll ever see widespread adoption at all. Tried and true forms of retail technology are what’s helping retailers navigate a shifting retail landscape on a daily basis.
Emerging Technology Remains More Buzz Than Reality
Investing in emerging and unproven technology is not a high priority for retailers in 2019. AI, drones, beacons, RFID, visual search, voice commerce, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and robots are all seeing adoption rates at 10% or less. Among these least used retail technologies are beacons, RFID, and robots, which will see mostly no increase in investments by retailers in 2019.
When retailers were asked to list three emerging technologies that they plan to invest in over the next 12 months, by far the most common choice was “none”, with 37% of retailers saying they won’t make these kinds of investments in the next year. Whether this number means retailers don’t trust these technologies will offer good returns or their operations simply aren’t ready for them, it’s clear that retailers have other priorities in 2019.
The Top Priorities for Retail Technology Investment in 2019
Among all forms of retail technology, e-commerce platforms, retail analytics, and mobile websites are the most likely to see increased investment in 2019, with 49%, 46%, and 46% saying they’ll increase their investments in this technology, respectively.
Each of the technologies listed above help retailers greatly enhance the customer experience – the top priority cited in the report. Today’s consumers are mobile-savvy and retailers needs to be able to provide seamless online e-commerce experiences that work on mobile devices to truly capture the attention of consumers.
The ultimate goal is to build great experiences for consumers, not just so they’ll buy a product one time, but so they’ll build a relationship with the brand and become a loyal customer for years to come. This is a far more profitable, long-term pursuit that assures steadily increasing sales volumes and revenue.
In fact, the report showed the primary way that retailers judge the effectiveness of a retail technology is in its ability to grow sales and revenue. The retail technologies mentioned above have already proven their worth in achieving the goal of loyalty through customer experiences.
Retail Data & Analytics Continues to Be Pivotal in the Growth Strategy of Retailers
With the growth of e-commerce in retail, a number of emerging technologies on the horizon, and increasingly challenging consumer demands, retail data and analytics platforms continue to be an essential part of how retailers navigate a shifting landscape and plan for growth.
Many retail data platforms offer a comprehensive view of brick and mortar locations in shopping centers and major malls, including everything from planned renovations to competing stores and key contact information. This type of insight allows retailers to uncover new opportunities to grow their business.
Today’s retail data and analytics platforms also offer deep demographic data. Typically, this data is derived from mobile location data by intercepting, but not interrupting, consumers as they’re shopping. The mobile location data is then used to construct highly accurate trade areas with in-depth insight into the surrounding areas of potential retail locations.
There are quite a few things that retail data and analytics platforms can do for retailers. With visibility into competitors, retail locations, and demographics, retailers can make data-driven decisions that grow their business. This is vitally important in a shifting retail landscape.
It’s a technology that’s proven its worth time and time again. In 2019, retailers are once again increasing their investment in retail data and analytics instead of emerging technologies that have yet to prove their value.
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