You’d agree that the competition in the retail industry keeps getting heated in recent years and consumers have access to more buying opportunities and options than ever before – causing the industry’s landscape to shift towards digital operations in a bid to make their operations more efficient.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic alongside mandatory social distancing and the lockdown of business places have accelerated this ‘new normal’ reality – making retail software development services a must-have rather than a choice for every business.
Today, consumers are more informed and have fast-changing shopping traits; therefore, they expect efficient, high-tech, fast, frictionless, and accurate retail service. In this article, we will explore how retail businesses can stand above the high competition in the marketplace by partnering with retail software development companies.
Looking around, it is easy to see how big retail companies like Apple, Amazon, eBay, and BestBuy have become so successful by investing in custom retail software development solutions.
A recent survey by GlobalWebIndex, a market research company, reveals that 46% of the surveyed will keep shopping online even when the lockdown measures are lifted, and 27% will search for the product online before heading to a physical store.
Therefore, it is crucial to adopt end-to-end retail software solutions development for an empowering consumer experience to stay relevant in the retail business.
Check here to see why 2021 is a turning point in the technology revolution of the retail industry.
Top 6 Trends of Retail Software Development Services That Help Retail Businesses Stand Above Competition
1. Augmented Reality (AR) for Immersive Shopping
Augmented Reality is one of the major trends in the retail industry and has even grown more popular lockdown seasons. It solves the longest shopping problems by providing customers with the ability to try products virtually before buying them.
This helps boost the online shopping experience of customers. Today, businesses can partner with a retail software development company to develop applications that will help their customers try out various products virtually in more realistic ways than a mere display of pictures.
For instance, you can see how a piece of furniture will look in a home to how a particular paint color will suit a room With AR. This software provides customers with more accurate information about products and enhances better decision-making – thus increasing customer loyalty.
2. Machine Learning to Predict Customers’ Buying Behaviour
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have proven to be highly useful across various industries globally – and the retail sector is not an exception. According to Statista, 45% of businesses used machine learning algorithms to predict fast-shifting customer shopping traits in 2019.
This algorithm combines and analyses data from various sources, including POS, market trends, and economic and seasonal factors. As a result, retail companies can forecast demand and optimize the supply, logistics, and manufacturing processes.
Examples of big companies that use Machine Learning algorithms in their everyday operations are Amazon, Costco, The North Face, Walmart, and Target.
Read this article for more details on how machine learning can be used for prescriptive analysis in the retail industry.
3. Staff-Free Stores
As social distancing is still relevant for the safety of public health, staff-free, and cashier-less stores are becoming popular trends in the retail industry. Staff-free stores allow customers to get products they want from a physical store and leave without interacting with anybody.
This is made possible by technologies such as computer vision systems, RFID tags, IoT devices, and facial recognition, and Machine Learning. The system scans the products bought and charges customers the moment they walk out of the store.
This trend allows people to shop with a high level of comfort as it is cardless and cashless. It also reduces cross-contact – improving the health and well-being of customers.
As this technology improves, mobile apps with barcode and QR scanners are getting developed for shopping purposes in which customers do not have to touch or pick up things to inspect them.
4. Data Science for Optimized and Seamless Multi-Channel Shopping
As the tastes and expectations of modern consumers continue to increase in terms of retail services, businesses are moving away from the old uni-channel retail model and are constantly looking for ways to make their products available through multiple customer sales channels – providing, quick and frictionless for their customers whether they shop offline or online.
These channels can be social media platforms, physical brick-and-mortar stores, online marketplaces, mobile apps, catalogs, and comparison shopping engines.
To achieve this, retail businesses must leverage data science to assess real-time information about customer behavior, interest, buying patterns, and history to make faster decisions and render more personalized services.
5. Voice Commerce
One of the major ways technology has influenced retail services is by enabling consumers to carry out purchasing activities through voice shopping. With fast-improving voice assistant AIs such as Google assistant, Siri, and Alexa, voice technology has since moved on from enjoying favorite music and inquiring about the weather to shopping for stuff online.
This technology is a lot more beneficial compared to what was previously available as it does not require customers to swap through screens of their laptops and phones. Instead, they only need their voices to be recognized by those devices.
According to Statista, almost 90 million adults in the US have a smart speaker – making up to 33% of consumers. Also, the global market revenue of smart speakers is projected to reach $35.5 billion in 2025 – showing that the voice technology trend is a fast gaining force in the retail industry.
Customers can search for items, add them to a virtual cart, complete their orders using only their voices and expect the retailers to deliver their products. You’d agree that this is another level of customer convenience and can make a retail company stand out among its competitors.
6. Autonomous Vehicles and Robots for Optimized Delivery
Automated delivery robots and vehicles are fast gaining ground and becoming a new normal for some big players across the retail industry. A good example is Safeway – an online supermarket chain that is testing a remote-controlled automated delivery cart in delivering groceries to locals in the neighborhood.
Walmart has started utilizing fully self-driven trucks for delivery orders. Other companies adopting autonomous delivery vehicles and robots include Uber, DHL, Amazon, Hyundai, Verizon, etc.
This technology makes delivery services more efficient and makes shopping more convenient for consumers. Also, it offers contactless solutions and can prove extremely useful in cases such as Covid-19.
Check here to read more about digital transformations in the retail industry.
Wrapping It Up
The trends mentioned above and many others are fast reshaping the retail industry. Tools like data science, AR, Machine learning, and computer vision continues to make shopping experiences more refined and sophisticated. Therefore, adopting retail software development services is essential for businesses to stay relevant and stand above the high competition in the retail industry.