Retail has been changing dramatically over recent years, just this weekend I noticed another store in my local shopping centre has closed down. As consumers, we’re digitally savy, turning to our mobile phones to research items, purchase and expect goods to be on our door step within hours.
So what are the digital technologies that will really make a difference in 2018?
1. The Retail Chat Bot, Sales Advisor
Intelligent agents whether voice activated like Amazon’s Alexa and Siri, or written chat bots often found on customer service sites, are able to respond appropriately to human input, quickly and efficiently.
1-800-Flowers has been using an intelligent agent or chatbot called GWYN to help shoppers find the right gift since 2016. GWYN works like a messaging app, asking the shopper questions to help identify and locate the most appropriate gift. Providing a rich and differentiated customer experience, GWYN is powered by IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology.
2. Employee Apps in the Store
With product information and pricing comparisons at our fingertips, store associates benefit from in-store technologies to provide them with more information than the shopper has at their fingertips. Employee apps like the one developed by IBM and Boots, show customer preferences, stock information, product ratings and reviews and make recommendations of other products using online analytics.
3. Mobile Shopping
Mobile is often the technology device of choice for the consumer, with most of us ensuring our smartphone is always at arms reach. Shopper apps are being developed that enable consumers to visualise products in their homes, or match clothing items seen on celebrities to stock availability. The use of the mobile in the omnichannel shopping experience will continue to develop wonderful, engaging experiences with brands.
4. Order Management & Fulfillment Solutions
Amazon has raised customer expectations for fast delivery. Those in retail with stores and distribution centres need to determine the most efficient placement of inventory to minimise costs, while maximising speed and efficiency of shipments to stores and consumer home delivery. Like other Watson systems, Order Optimiser takes into account not only the location and stock levels in every store and warehouse, the cost of shipment from each facility, but also external factors like weather forecasts when recommending where merchandise can be shipped.
Today, customers expect individually tailored interactions and retailers should leverage the boom in personalization technology. We know what we like and we react more positively to a personalised approach. Chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli are able to quickly create customized microsites for a variety of gift ideas. Consumers are able to build personalised gifts with just the products they select.
To read the full article, download 5 Digital Commerce Technologies that will make a Difference in 2018.