From omnichannel becoming more pervasive to mobile having a greater impact on both eCommerce and in-store sales, 2015 proved to be a year of increased innovation for the retail industry.

Looking ahead to 2016, Retail TouchPoints asked us (and a few of our industry peers) to share our insights on the question: “Which technology trend will impact the retail industry most significantly in 2016 (and why)?”

Let’s think back to 2015. What comes to mind? Omnichannel. Omnichannel. Omnichannel. There’s no doubt that this was top of mind for retailers last year. More than ever, consumers expect a seamless omnichannel experience, and the retailers that are most successful are investing in technological solutions that give consumers the shopping experience they really value (and have come to expect). My prediction is that 2016 will be the year that retailers invest in even more integrated omnichannel solutions to increase personalization for their consumers. Why, you ask? Here’s some more information on our thinking behind the prediction:

  • Customer Expectations Have Been Reshaped By Online Shopping
    Our recent research report, Great Omnichannel Expectations, revealed that physical stores are falling short of consumer’s expectations. This is largely because consumers tend to receive personalized offers when shopping online that they don’t get when shopping in-store. To meet consumer expectations, there are several tools outlined below that can help create a true omnichannel experience that don’t break inventory budgets.
  • There Are Many Tools That Can Deliver A True Omnichannel Experience
    Analytics tools help retailers by giving insights on sales trends and consumer behavior across different channels. This allows for more educated inventory planning decisions. Mobile point-of-sale technologies also help retailers by interacting with shoppers, providing inventory checks and processing sales. Those are just two examples of tools that will change the future of retail. We outline more game-changing technologies in the Retail TouchPoints
  • Don’t Cross Consumer Boundaries
    While many shoppers want personalized attention from brands, retailers should be careful that marketing messages aren’t intrusive. Instead of bombarding consumers with messages, the key to creating greater customer loyalty is to give shoppers something of value. The retailers who are most successful in building loyalty are those that provide truly unique offers that make the shopper feel welcome, but not overwhelmed.

More than ever, consumers expect a seamless omnichannel experience, and the retailers that are most successful are investing in technological solutions that give consumers the shopping experience they really value or expect.

Only time will tell, but we’re expecting 2016 to bring even more investment in these important personalization solutions. We’re interested in hearing your thoughts and predictions as well!

Additionally, take a look at other companies’ insights on what the industry will have to offer this year:

  • Digital Can Have A Serious Impact In Physical Stores, Caley LandiorioAkamai Technologies
    In 2016, retailers should focus on making the most of digital technologies by using them to improve and personalize the in-store experience. Akamai uses the example of Hointer Beta Store, which makes use of robots to deliver clothes to customers’ fitting rooms that they put in their shopping cart via the mobile app. To stay ahead of trends and minimize the risk of falling behind the market, retailers must innovate and improve their digital strategies.
  • Embracing A Digital Core To Gain A Full View Of The Customer Will Define The Future, Lori Mitchell-Keller, SAP
    A digital core connects every aspect of operations in real time, including critical areas of the value chain. Creating a digital core helps retailers to streamline workflow, expedite decision-making and better predict business outcomes, which is key for integrating collective data sets, digging deeper into the customer persona and delivering a true omnichannel experience.
  • 2016 Will Be The Year Of The Enterprise Store Associate, Kevin Swanwick, Manhattan Associates
    The store associate role has evolved to include the responsibility of being an enterprise salesperson, an omnichannel customer service agent and a fulfillment specialist. Today’s customers have instant access to product availability, recommendations and their order status right from their mobile device. Store associates need real-time access to an enterprise’s data and customer so they don’t fall behind.

To read more insights on what’s to come this year in retail, be sure to check out Retail TouchPoint’s2016 technology preview.

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