The retail industry has undergone a huge transformation over the last number of years as the needs of customers have changed and technology has become ever more prevalent. From the explosion of eCommerce to processing online and offline payments to tech-driven in-store displays the face of retail is being shaped by tech and it’s not showing signs of slowing down any time soon.
Whether you shop online or in-store, you can feel the influence of modern technology in the retail sector, arguably more than in many other industries. The entire shopping experience has undergone a massive change, with more technology being implemented in all areas of the supply chain. From the moment the product leaves the manufacturer to when the customer swipes their card, smartphone, or smartwatch to complete the purchase, technology is involved every step of the way.
Let’s take a look at just some of the ways technology has reshaped the retail industry in recent years.
Virtually every retail business is powered by technology to some degree nowadays. Whether it’s using the latest retail accounting software to stay in control of your finances, using logistics platforms to track deliveries or a state-of-the-art point of sale (POS) system, technology features heavily in all aspects of the retail industry. In today’s fast-paced world these tools are essential in helping retail business owners to keep their business on track and to stay in control of what would otherwise be complete chaos.
Influence Of eCommerce
eCommerce has completely changed how many consumers shop. With online stores open 24/7 online and plenty of digital payment options to choose from, online retail businesses have become more popular than ever. Buying online allows customers to conveniently shop from the comfort of their own home. However, for retail business owners, it provides an opportunity to reach a much wider customer base, increase conversions and generate more sales without the expensive overheads of a traditional brick and mortar storefront.
Different Payment Options
Nowadays, there are more payment options available than ever. While online payments were once reserved for credit cards only, nowadays you can use a range of different credit cards, debit cards, payment services, wallets and even cryptocurrencies to pay for purchases online. New payment options are not just reserved for the online realm, however, like contactless payments, NFC payments that allow customers to pay with their smart device as well as chip and pin and cash payments.
Techy In-Store Displays
How goods are presented to customers has also evolved with more stores featuring large LED displays of their latest offerings. Digital displays have been used on the side of buildings, on top of cars and on the roofs of shopping centres to gain consumer’s attention. Interactive touch-screen displays are also becoming increasingly popular allowing customers to find out more information about the products they are buying and what inventory is available in-store.
Apps And Social Media
Many online shoppers do their browsing and their buying directly on store-specific apps and social media channels nowadays. Apps have made it easier than ever for retail businesses to communicate directly with the customer through push notifications and offering flash in-app only sales and special offers. eCommerce stores can also integrate directly with Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, allowing users to make purchases without ever leaving their favourite social app.
Technology Will Continue To Impact Retail Moving Forward
Moving forward it’s expected that technology will play an even more critical role in the world of retail, enhancing the shopping experience and making it easier for retailers to operate their businesses. Technology is continuing to shape virtually every part of our lives and the retail experience will certainly not escape.