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article imageSure signs of retail's digital transformation

By Tim Sandle     Jan 25, 2018 in Business
Many consumers are used to the real-time, personalized world that the modern digital landscape. This is seemingly more so with retail than with other sectors. Five key trends show this in action.
Once a sufficient number of retailers put in place a modern and efficient application of digital technology, this alters consumer expectations. For those retailers less advance or which have yet to embark on the digital change process, they face the risk of remaining behind. One of the most apparent changes in consumer behaviors can be summarized as 'what they want, they want it now.' Quick ordering and fast deliveries is something retailers need to prepare for.
Five important trends signalling the digital transformation of retail have been highlighted by Forbes. These are:
Smart beacons
Smart beacons work with Bluetooth, and they are designed to to alert retailers when customers are close to a store. This enables the retailer to communicate with the customer, such as pinning a discount voucher in order to entice the customer in. An example is iBeacon, a protocol developed by Apple. With the help of an iBeacon, a smartphone's software can approximately find its relative location to an iBeacon in a store.
Smart beacons enable retailers to collect real-time data about consumer spending habits and as to which types of coupons and offers are the most attractive, and to which demographic groups.
Mobile technology
Retailers need to use mobile technology and offer an array of channels for consumers. Examples are mobile-enhanced product reviews, with rich detail. Of great importance are mobile-responsive websites (nothing looks worse than a website viewed on a smartphone that hasn't been configured). Mobile schemes also include discounts which can be issued on demand via apps.
Internet of Things
The analysis suggests that the Internet of Things will have a significant impact upon consumption data. This data can be used by retailers to utilize to personalize shopping experiences. A further option is with positioning suitable products in front of the people at the right time. Connected devices are also popular for retailers to sell to consumers; a study from Accenture Interactive found that nearly two-thirds of consumers intend to purchase a connected home device by 2019.
Augmented reality
One problem with shopping on-line is getting a sense of what the object to be purchased looks like. This is fine for a book, but a sofa? Through devising websites for augmented reality retailer can enhance consumers to “experience” with the object for sale, without the consumer ever holding the object in their hands. One benefit to retailers was when Apple introduced iOS 11 in 2017 together with the ARKit, providing a new way for developers to add augmented reality into retail apps and websites.
Artificial intelligence
By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, retainers can start to understand their customers’ individual preferences. This will allow retail outlets to begin to anticipate customer needs and purchases, even before the customers themselves. Analysts Forrester expect that AI will drive faster business decisions in consumer marketing; this is especially important so that retailers can provide on-demand personalized promotions when online.
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