Technology Retail-Retail no longer solely means walking into a store or going to a website when searching for something to buy. The “if” factor of finding desired products is now “when” and “how,” and the possibilities for purchase are endless. Today, retail is about the experience — finding the best price, shopping in your preferred mediums, accessing in-store conveniences like buying online/picking up in-store, etc. Regardless of the experience, technology plays a significant role in how and where we shop, and it will continue to drive innovation across the industry.
This was confirmed after attending the National Retail Federation Big Show this past January in New York, as it was evident how far retail has evolved. There were demos of self-checkout kiosks, tech-infused pop-up shops, point-of-sale systems that improve customer service, and more, in addition to the continuous growth of more advanced smartphones and social platforms that have increased engagement and modernized the shopping experience. While each trend has impacted retail in its own unique way — whether it be online or in-store — many share common themes on how technology will continue to drive retail experiences.
Retail is Sensory Driven
Our senses navigate us through our daily lives; retail is no different, with voice and visual commerce being two of the driving forces. Voice assistants like Amazon.com’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant have created a new era of retail, and we’re just at the forefront. In fact, management strategy consultants OC&C estimate an astonishing $40 billion will be spent on U.S. voice commerce by 2022, with 36 percent of device owners regularly using them to make purchases.
Visual commerce allows the abundance of images and videos that we see online every day to become shoppable, instantaneously turning inspiration into reality. Today, there are 600 million visual searches every month across Pinterest through its Lens tool, a direct result of more than 85 percent of consumers putting more emphasis on visual information than text when shopping online. While voice and visual commerce are both already very relevant today, over the next few years we’ll see more brands redesigning their websites to support these trends further.