The retail sector changed significantly during the pandemic. Organizations were forced to accelerate digitisation to remain competitive within the drastically changed marketplace.
However, the need for disruptive technologies has not abated. Supply chain issues remain, customer expectations have grown, and companies need to find new ways to deal with labour shortages and sustainability demands.
More than ever, businesses need to adopt new strategies and practices. Fortunately, innovators are up for the challenge and offer many solutions to help organizations stay ahead of the competition.
Self-checkout is now a common sight in many retail stores. However, retailers are now trying new technologies that create a totally frictionless experience. The most notable is autonomous checkout which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence. Cameras track shoppers and when they’re ready to leave they pay for their goods, without going through a cashier or self-checkout.
This grab-and-go technology is already making its way into airports. A recent report suggests checkout-less retail stores will increase to more than 12,000 by 2027, due to their easy installation and affordability.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
Consumers want better ways to manage their purchases. Consequently, many retailers now offer BNPL loans that split purchases into payments. These point-of-sale instalment loans can be found in most major retail stores.
However, this technology is readily available and more affordable than ever. As a result, retail companies of all sizes can benefit from this disruptive technology. Consequently, global BNPL payments are predicted to grow by 12.7% annually between 2023 – 2028.
Social Media Sales
The Future of Retail, 2023 report by Square found more than 90% of retailers are now selling on social media. Furthermore, social commerce shows no signs of abating.
Gen Z and Millennial users favour social media, due to hyper-targeted offerings and increased engagement. Consequently, global sales are predicted to triple by 2025.
Chatbots, ordering by text message, and voice-activated ordering assistants are just a few ways retailers are upping their game. Many companies are now using blockchain and AI technology to shore up their cybersecurity too.
Automation to Combat Labour Shortages
The global labour shortage has forced many retailers to look for alternative solutions. The rate of employee attrition has increased since the pandemic, instead of subsiding as it has in other sectors.
Companies are now using AI-powered software and automated bots to manage order data. Some organizations have also turned to robots for routine tasks such as cleaning and even preparing and packing orders.
Hyper-Personalized Customer Experience
A Epsilon study found 80% of retail customers are more likely to buy when a company offers a personalized experience.
Fortunately, AI, marketing automation, and improved data management can create better experiences for customers. These technologies are within all organizations reach and can differentiate them from the competition.
Consumers are using their wallets to make more sustainable choices. As a result, retailers must reduce carbon emissions, water usage, and waste. For instance, packaging, useful life, and recyclability have become hot topics organizations must address.
Retailers must also provide greater transparency if they are to entice and retain the environmentally savvy new consumer.
Finding Appropriate Retail Disruptive Technologies
Today’s retailers need disruptive technologies on their side to meet these challenges. However, it can be difficult for an organization to plot a path towards technological change. The scope and range of possibilities is vast.
Fortunately, EarlyBirds can help. We offer expertise, Subject Matter Experts, and an expansive marketplace of new and disruptive technologies. We also offer 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 develops dynamic ecosystem maps of industry domains, emerging technologies, and organizational capabilities. These maps help companies understand strengths and weaknesses, and highlight opportunities for collaboration.
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. If you’re interested in partnering for success, please register at https://earlybirds.io/, or contact us to discuss your needs.