Retail Tech Trends

Impatient consumers have lead to the emergence of some new retail tech trends this year. According to Zebra’s 2017 Global Retail Vision Study, forward thinking merchants are investing in technology solutions — from radio frequency identification tags that boost inventory accuracy to sensors that beam consumers personalized offers — to overhaul merchants upended by digital disruption. Their are two new trends that we have been seeing in recent months that we would find noteworthy. 

The Tech-Enabled Supply Chain Makeover

Out-of-stock inventory at a retailer will quickly send consumers running to another brand. And inventory holes are a recipe for eroding shopper loyalty across demographic groups.

So, it comes as little surprise that 72% of retailers plan to reinvent their supply chain with real-time visibility enabled by automation, sensors and analytics, Zebra’s study found.

Based on the retail presentations and new technology solutions on display at the Nation Retail Federation’s Big Show recently, the industry is betting big on radio frequency identification technology, for one, to reinvent the supply chain.

Dubbed the next generation of the barcode, RFID enables real-time inventory visibility, from the warehouse to the store floor.

Some retailers are committing to a widespread rollout of the technology, such as tagging all store items with RFID tags, which can reportedly reduce out of stocks by 60% to 80%.

And the combination of RFID, video and geo-location technologies reaps another benefit for retailers. They generate shopper insights on buying patterns that can be applied to retail marketing, merchandising and store-layout decisions informed by real-time business intelligence rather than gut instincts.

According to Zebra’s findings, 70% of retailers surveyed plan to have installed beacons for location-based marketing within five years.

The Personal In-Store (Digital) Touch 

As shoppers have the world’s mall at their fingertips online, retailers are banking on the delivery of personalized merchandise and experiences to keep them coming through the door.

Merchants surveyed ranked locationing platforms, such as sensors that track consumers’ footpath through the store and beacons that trigger in store offers, as their top technology goals, the Zebra survey found. The idea is to hook consumers at their precise moment of need — or want.

These “smart” devices power in-store ploys such as a sweater display tricked out with a beacon sensor that detects a shopper, and then lights up the pink cardigan that would most appeal to them based on their purchasing data from the store’s mobile app.