Top Five Digital Transformation Trends In Retail – Forbes
This week, I launched a new series focused on the biggest digital trends impacting various industries. First up was healthcare, where technology is gifting patients with greater access to quality care through telemedicineâand arming caregivers with even more life-saving tools like wearables, predictive data, and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Now we move to retail, where a similar wave of empowerment has hit the industryâthis time, on the side of consumers.
Whether retail is ready for it or not, consumers have become hooked on the real-time, personalized world of the modern digital landscape, and they expect their retail providers to follow suit. Todayâs digital consumer is a demanding beast. They want what they want, and they want it now. (And thatâs just todayâs shoppers; donât even get me started on Generation Z, which is actually expected to become the next big retail disruptor.)
Todayâs retailers have never had more demandsâor more opportunitiesâto reach their customers in new and exciting ways. Retailers are no longer selling things. Theyâre selling the experience of buying those things. And it better be a good one. Says one writer, âWe can no longer be a little bit digital.â Itâs an all-or-nothing train, and retails who refuse to hop on now will be left behind. The following are a few of the biggest technologies currently impacting the industry.
I still remember the first time I learned I could walk up to any associateâliterally anywhere in Nordstrom Rackâand pay for my purchases. Now that seems like old hat, with Amazon Go offering customers the chance to purchase items without checking out at all. Todayâs opportunities in mobility run the gamut from mobile-armed sales staff to mobile-enhanced product reviews, mobile-responsive websites, and discounts on demand via apps while shopping in store. A recent study showed 82% of smart phone users consult their phones in the store while deciding what to buy. It makes sense that those shoppers can now use mobile payâfrom a growing number of providersâwhile theyâre at it.
Mobile wearables are also shaking up the digital world. Now customers can walk stores with virtual reality (VR) goggles and try on items without ever touching them physically. Not only is it faster and easierâitâs fun for the customer, and one more way to get him or her in the digital or physical door.
Another smart way to capture customers: smart beacons. Smart beacons work with Bluetooth to alert retailers when customers are in the vicinity of their store or signage so they can communicate with them at a targeted time or range. In fact, smart beacons take targeted marketing to a whole new level. What better time to send a customer a coupon or discount code than when theyâre standing outside your door?
Smart beacons also allow for immediate data collection to determine the effectiveness of oneâs marketing campaign. Do promos usually work better at a certain time of day? Among certain age groups? With certain product types? With smart beacons, retailers no longer have to guessâor devote tons of time, money, or analysisâto finding the answer.