Retail success depends heavily on technology. From attracting customers to making the final sale, it is indispensable.
However, disruptions during the pandemic shook up the sector and are still changing how retail companies do business. They must alter how they interact with their customers as well as their internal business processes to remain competitive and relevant in this fast-paced sector.
Accelerated Change Already Evident in Retail
Retail was one of the most impacted sectors during the pandemic. Nonetheless, it was also one of the quickest to adapt to customer needs.
However, as the pandemic winds down, it appears customer expectations have only grown. Services such as buying online, and picking up in store are now common. Local returns on online purchases are also expected. Self-checkout options in retail locations are also commonplace.
Buyers Want a Unified Shopping Experience
Even though consumers shop and engage with their brands in new ways online, including buying on social media, they still expect physical stores to remain part of their shopping routine. However, they want more from their in-person shopping experience.
Some retailers use an app to connect to a customer’s credit or debit card, allowing cashierless checkout. Others use geofencing to detect when a customer enters a store. An app then steers them towards appropriate items based on their buying history.
Additionally, unified data from social, website, and in-person shopping must provide a more comprehensive shopping experience.
Immersive Customer Experience More Important Than Ever
Today’s retail tech must go beyond the mechanics of providing goods and services. According to a PWC report, consumers value a great experience above all else.
Fortunately, the immersive, digital environments of the metaverse can provide the consistent, efficient, and memorable experiences customers crave. By creating personalized digital avatars, retailers can access deep, real-time insights into their customers’ preferences.
Fueled by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and advanced analytics, users enjoy a more engaging experience on a single, convenient platform.
Ethical Consumerism on the Rise
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices are now a “must have” for retail businesses. How a company operates and sources their goods is as important as the products themselves.
According to a 2021 study, 83% of consumers think companies should be actively shaping ESG best practices. Luckily, conscientious consumers are also willing to pay more for ESG conscious products and brands.
Yet, initiating ESG practices can be costly, especially without a good strategy and expert advice. However, successfully adapting to this trend offers retail businesses many benefits.
Firstly, they can increase customer trust in a marketplace where brand loyalty severely eroded during the pandemic. Secondly, they can increase revenues when they appeal to belief-driven consumers. Finally, ESG practices can reduce wastage and energy consumption to help combat rising expenses.
Managing Supply Chain Challenges
Consumers are feeling the financial effects of inflation on everyday necessities such as food and clothing. However, supply chain disruptions have prompted many retailers to further increase prices.
Consequently, it is more important than ever to strengthen and expand supply chains. By leveraging technology, retailers can increase collaboration and minimize price increases.
Plotting a Path Towards Retail Innovation
Today’s multi-faceted retail models require greater agility and responsiveness. Fortunately, technology can play a highly-beneficial role.
However, many companies do not know how to plot a path towards technological change. With the wide range of choices and possibilities, companies may find it difficult to determine which retail tech they should use.
Nonetheless, it is vitally important that retail businesses innovate now. Increasing customer expectations, tenuous supply chains, and rising costs will only increase challenges. Fortunately, EarlyBirds can help.
We offer expertise, Subject Matter Experts, and an expansive marketplace of new and disruptive technologies. EarlyBirds also offers unique programs for ad hoc or supplementary needs, as well as ongoing transformational support.
EarlyBirds Innovation Ecosystem
The EarlyBirds Innovation Ecosystem is a Business-to-Business portal connecting Innovators, Early Adopters, and Subject Matter Experts. Early Adopters are leaders or influencers in an organisation eager to identify new and disruptive technologies. They want to seize opportunities, solve business challenges, or create new products and services.
The Ecosystem has a data pool of over 4 million global innovations that may already address your technological needs. Alternatively, organisations can list their challenges and creators will respond with appropriate actionable innovations.
EarlyBirds Explorer Program
The Explorer Program is tailored towards those who need innovation as a service to supplement existing innovation programs, or to conduct innovation projects when required.
EarlyBirds Challenger Program
The Challenger Program focuses on a single organisational or technical challenge. It looks for the most relevant innovators that meet your organisational, technical, and risk requirements.
The program is run by an EarlyBirds Subject Matter Expert who ascertains your needs. The SME then searches the data pool to identify and curate options for further evaluation. The most suitable option is chosen and the SME drafts a roadmap of next steps, POC, trial, or implementation.
EarlyBirds can provide direction and expertise if your retail organisation wants to move forward. Let us help you find innovative solutions and connect your organisation to appropriate disruptive technology.
We help retail businesses find direction and accelerate innovation, within their tech silo and through collaboration. Our expertise extends to Retail, the Food Industry, Public Sector, Operations & Maintenance, Manufacturing, Finance & Insurance, Energy, Education, Cybersecurity, and more.
If you’re interested in partnering for success, please register at https://earlybirds.io/, or contact us to discuss your needs.