The technology world has never evolved as quickly as it has over the past few years. The never-ending race to be the leader is on, and even the retail giants who are already on top of their game need to stay focused to remain relevant. Interestingly, while technology is continually changing, the “need for speed” is being felt in virtually every industry, particularly in retail and transportation.
Today’s customers refuse to wait, expect to order items in mere seconds, and often won’t settle for less than same-day shipping. Futuristic inventions such as delivery drones, or Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop – that could take you from New York City to Washington DC in only 29 minutes – also make the unimaginable seem possible. Smart retailers need to have a solid base of reliable retail enterprise software while still being on the lookout for the newest and most promising retail trends, as innovation is what truly drives change.
Mobile shopping will still be going strong
Mobile devices have clearly revolutionized shoppers’ buying patterns. Typical consumers use their smartphones to make purchases while on the go, or they’ll consult them all while shopping in-store. In fact, up to 82 percent of shoppers admit to consulting their phones when they’re about to purchase items in-store. What’s more, social media driven shoppers are omnipresent these days, especially the younger customers, as they’re always searching Instagram and Snapchat for fashion inspirations. With 34 percent of online retail purchases now happening on mobile devices, it’s hard to imagine this trend changing anytime soon, as most of us are continually glued to our phones.
Edge computing is becoming increasingly important
While most people seem to have assimilated the concept of cloud computing over the years, edge computing hasn’t enjoyed the same buzz. However, it is predicted to become increasingly important to enterprises in the upcoming years. So, what is it exactly? Gartner defines edge computing as “a computing topology in which information processing, content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of this information [and are particularly well suited for] enterprises with IoT elements.” By moving computing closer to the origin of the data – and getting access to up-to-the-minute information – retailers could greatly increase their overall productivity and achieve greater ROI.
Shopping experiences are about to become more and more immersive
Augmented reality experiences are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason: they enable you to blur the lines between online and offline channels and acquire hands-on experience, anytime and anywhere. Leading retailers are well aware of this trend and are hurrying to adopt it. IKEA, for instance, recently launched an augmented reality application enabling their customers to visualize what their furniture would look like in the comfort of their own home.
Integrated end-to-end suites will soon be on every retailer’s wish list
Nowadays, many retail software providers solely focus on one aspect of retailers’ needs – whether it is e-commerce, point of sale, merchandise management or retail analytics – making the whole process of selecting companies particularly daunting. In fact, finding highly-effective vendors in each domain can be a particularly time-consuming and stressful process – as not all of them will be compatible – which makes the necessity of selecting one all-inclusive vendor all the more important. With advances in technology, retailers need to invest in a fully integrated suite, as it’s the best way to get the omni-channel data visibility they need to outpace the competition. While end-to-end suites are not yet the norm in the industry, they have great potential for expansion.