Retail Tech Trends to Watch in 2018

Bematech Blog - December 20, 2017

An artistic image of consumers walking on a glass concourse with brightly colored shopping bags illustrating a futuristic feel for retail tech trends in 2018.The retail industry has developed a symbiotic relationship with technology. Retail technology provides the data business owners need to cut down on waste and increase profit margin as well as the capabilities they need to create shopping experiences that meet consumer expectations and help build customer loyalty. In turn, changing consumer behaviors and new retail strategies drive technological advancements. Retail trends in 2018 reflect retailers’ desire to elevate their brands and win customers — and to use cutting-edge technology to achieve those goals.

Technologies such as mobile solutions, digital shopping channels, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality software will heighten the customer shopping experience in the year to come.

Mobile Solutions

Retail trends in 2018 indicate retailers are favoring technology such as mobile point of sale (POS) and mobile payment apps. The convenience of using a smartphone or wearable tech for quick payments at checkout can make the shopping experience more engaging and enjoyable for customers. It can also level the playing field between the “connected” consumer and your sales associates, giving them easy access to product and inventory information as well as the internet and social media sites.

Watch for the number of payments via mobile wallet or app to continue to grow in the next 12 months. To give your customers the ability to make payments in this manner if they choose, make sure your payment solution includes near field communication (NFC) to enable payments made with mobile wallets including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay.

Omnichannel Strategy

Creating a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for customers is becoming the standard in retail. Shoppers in 2018 will demand the ability to engage with your brand when and where they want to, check inventory, place orders for delivery or pickup and embark on shopping journeys that involve multiple channels.

In addition to an integrated technology that enables those shopping experiences, an effective omnichannel plan also includes:

  • Using technology that interacts with smartphones, able to push offers to shoppers at the point of decision.
  • Creating an online store that provides easy ordering and payment options, as well as provides information for webrooming shoppers headed for your store.
  • Updating social pages like Facebook and Instagram to help support your marketing and brand.

Data is King

Making use of customer data is not a new concept, but finding ways to gain new insights is topping retail trends in 2018. From the supply chain to post-purchase data, retailers will be using data analysis in many ways:

  • Customer data helps control inventory management by predicting periods of high demand and making sure stock volume meets their needs.
  • Data can help overall expenses like purchasing, marketing campaign budgeting, and staffing needs by knowing what customers are looking for and when they tend to purchase.
  • IoT (Internet of things) data allows retailers to monitor business activities and make real time adjustments in a variety of activities such as store lighting or temperature settings as well as keeping tabs on the supply chain process to help prevent errors.

Virtual Shopping

Retail trends in 2018 will prove that retail and technology have become virtually inseparable. Advances in AI (artificial intelligence) and AR (augmented reality) will find their way into retail trends in 2018  as retailers leverage these technologies to assist customers, predict and forecast —  and even let customers “try” merchandise before they buy.

Laser-Focus on Cx

All retail trends in 2018 seem to be aimed at elevating customer experiences, even more than in past years. With the realization that personalized, convenient service is what customers want — even more than bargain prices — they are looking for new ways to provide it and stand out from the competition.

Retailers that are agile enough to keep up with these trends will continue to advance their businesses by offering consumers an omnichannel shopping experience that emphasizes exceptional customer experiences. Make 2018 a great year by evaluating your operations and finding ways to stay ahead of the trends in a changing retail landscape.