At the start of a new year, we naturally look ahead at the trends that the next twelve months will bring. In retail, 2023 is set to still be a time of challenge and flux as the world recovers from the disruption of the pandemic. Shoppers have limited disposable income, and are selective about where they spend it, meaning retailers have to compete hard to win wallet share. But we’re also seeing exciting technology trends* in the retail industry. There has never been so much tech in retail, with retail technology solutions having the power to help attract and retain customers, for sustained growth and profit.

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Retail tech solutions for scalable personalisation

Shoppers want a fantastic experience.** They don’t want to be ‘one of many’ – they want a personalised approach that makes them feel seen and valued. But the challenge for retailers is how to provide this personalisation at scale, without compromising efficient operation and growth.

Retail technology solutions are the answer. Tech in retail is the ‘magic’ that allows personalisation at scale. Here we look at how technology is changing retail, and the key ways that technology trends in the retail industry for 2023 are enabling greater personalisation and customer experience.

Five key technology trends in the retail industry for 2023

  • Visualisation – one of the most exciting of the technology trends in the retail industry is engagement with The Metaverse – using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) tech in retail to transform the shopping experience. The Metaverse is growing rapidly+ as it becomes an integral part of our everyday life and shopping experiences, and globally the VR market is forecast to reach $15.8 bn (USD) by the end of 2023.

    Metaverse innovation in the retail industry takes the form of virtual dressing rooms, where shoppers ‘try on’ clothes on a digital avatar of themselves. Or a digital mirror that ‘applies’ makeup to an image of their own face, or a picture of their home, with new furniture items ‘placed’ in the room.

    Nike uses retail tech solutions with embedded computer vision to scan a shopper’s foot and analyses the image with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine the right sized shoe, ensuring the perfect fit for the 60% of people currently purchase the wrong size.

  • Curated collections – retail technology solutions that use AI to learn customers’ preferences are being used to offer curated selections of products, such as those from Stitch Fix. Every time the shopper purchases, the retail tech solution understands more about them and enhances the selection. This digital technology in retail stores provides a ‘personal shopper’ service that enhances the customer’s experience and increases sales. This  retail tech trend is driving a predicted growth of the AI in retail market of 23.9% between 2022 and 2030++.
  • Custom designed products – AI-based retail technology solutions enable shoppers to custom design products, such as ‘Nike by You’, where they select the colours and finishes of their own shoe. Retail tech solutions using visualisation offer a truly personalised, but digital and scalable, shopping experience.

  • Deep insights – retailers capture a wealth of data; from apps, eCommerce sites, loyalty programs, point of sale and suppliers. One of the continuing IT trends in the retail industry is ever-smarter data mining, turning this abundance of data into insights that can improve the customer experience and drive operational efficiencies. Automated retail technologies for data mining can predict future customer behaviours and purchasing trends so retailers can ensure they are ready to meet customer demands, whilst also optimising inventory.

  • Delivery options – shoppers want personalisation in the way they receive their purchases. Driverless delivery – by robot and drone – is an innovation in the retail industry that is set to grow in 2023. The delivery robot market is forecast to be $957m by 2026 ¶¶ and drone delivery has a projected global market size of $1.68 bn by the end of the year. Drones and robots offer fast, efficient and cost effective delivery, and this automated retail technology adds the finishing touch to an overall positive customer experience.

So as we look ahead to the technology trends in the retail industry, we see an increasing dependence on the Metaverse, AI and automated retail technologies. This level of innovation in the retail industry makes it a very exciting sector place to be in 2023.

Why should retail stores invest in retail technology?

Retail has always been competitive, and now the economic crisis has limited consumers’ spending power, meaning that there is even greater competition for the shopping dollar. In challenging times, it is those businesses who invest to stay ahead of the curve and position themselves for the future who survive and thrive. Shoppers know what they want, and the only way that it can be enabled, at scale, is through retail technology. Those who invest now will be the survivors of the future.

How are omnichannel solutions are shaping the customer’s shopping journey?

Customers are ‘channel blind’ – that is, they don’t think about when and whether they are going to use the store vs online. They want to be able to use either or both for any transaction, with the same experience whichever channel they use. We see this with the rise of omnichannel shopping journeys such as Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BORIS), or purchasing in store for home delivery. Retailers must offer omnichannel solutions if they are to keep up with the way that consumers want to shop.

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