A Snapshot of Emerging IT Trends Influencing Retailers
Over the past few years, the retail sector has experienced massive change.
To withstand the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers found themselves needing to quickly adapt to an online environment, fulfil orders amid a talent shortage, and traverse all the challenges that come with “unprecedented times”.
Marketing strategies needed to be reworked from the ground up.
Brick and mortar operations recreated themselves as eCommerce retailers.
And digital selling became the new cornerstone of retail.
The pandemic forced the retail industry to embrace digital technology, but it also had a massive influence on consumer behaviour. Now, retailers are increasingly embracing digital technology – not because they have to, but because they know how hungry their customers are for digital shopping experiences.
To give you the first-mover advantage, we’ve pulled together eight emerging IT trends we expect to see a lot more of in the coming years.
1. The eCommerce accelerator
The convenience of online shopping continues to appeal, and eCommerce demand requires a strong network and proactive security measures. IT must ensure privacy and data protection, while supporting customer-centric experiences.
2. Modern marketing
Technology-enabled personalization is powerful, but it can expose a business to security threats. IT and marketing teams must collaborate, with IT running audits of marketing tools and taking a big-picture view of the business’s tech needs.
3. Client-facing goes digital
Nearly 60% of retailers have digitised their client-facing operations, with IT supporting digitisation of customer service, operations, warehousing, and supply chain. This can mean providing online tools to support, embracing e-invoicing and payments, or creating transparency with effective tech for project management.
4. Getting analytical
Technology can harness big data to personalise the shopper experience and prepare for the retail landscape of the future. IT must provide guidance on capacity planning, data security, and data storage to establish a robust approach to data management.
5. New ways to shop in-store
Technology plays a crucial role in providing customers with new ways to shop in-store, from self-serve shopping options to contactless payments and collection. IT must set up efficient in-store systems, POS, scanners, printers, access points, and support the changing in-store shopping experience.
6. The rise of AI
Artificial intelligence can power everything from forecasting, to product placement, to personalisation. The Metaverse and immersive experiences are becoming more prevalent, with retailers using them to try products virtually and train staff. IT teams are needed to support retailers to not only keep an eye on upcoming tech-driven shopping experiences, but also to make sure new technology is implemented safely.
7. Blockchain technology
Blockchain can track and trace products, record transactions, and add value across the entire supply chain. This can give customers the benefits of better prices, increased trust, and higher quality products. IT teams will play a key role in building, operating, overseeing, and growing blockchain solutions.
8. Mindful consumers
Consumers are increasingly conscious of what they buy and who they buy from. Now, customers expect retailers to prioritise environmental, social, and governance responsibilities. Retailers can use technology to monitor and improve supply chain sustainability, and IT must support this through data management and analysis.