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Retail Analytics

Six retail technology trends that are changing the retail game

Written by Tony Loxton
May 20

The way we buy today is a far cry from a mere decade ago. Thanks to an explosion in technological advancements, today’s consumers are sharper, more demanding, and more clued-up than ever.

But just what kinds of technology are driving this change, and more importantly, which trends are worth paying attention to? In no particular order, we look at the six most influential retail technology trends shaping the way your consumers interact with your brand:

Social shopping platforms up the fun factor of ecommerce

Social networks have evolved from being platforms to post GIFs of cats having baths or to vent your frustrations to the world. Dubbed by PCMag as “The wordless web of pretty pictures and social reassurance”, social shopping platforms like Polyvore, Luvocracy, Svpply (and countless others) have followed Pinterest’s lead and now offer what are arguably some of the most convenient and enjoyable ways to purchase a product. The appeal of social shopping is down to the fact that it’s quick, it’s easy and it requires exactly the same amount of energy as mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed – the three traits today’s consumers expect from a retailer. (And let’s not forget the ‘social’ element – users can shop products recommended by stylists, influencers and bloggers, as well as curate their own wishlist of items to be purchased at a later date.) It’s safe to say that retailers can no longer afford to ignore the fact that their customers are online, and it’s up to them whether they’re able to meet them in that space or not.

Wifi analytics, geo-targeting and in-store beacons connect retailers with customer activity in real-time

82% of shoppers make purchasing decisions while browsing the aisle, says Forrester Research, and thanks to location-based technology and foot traffic software, retailers are able to capitalise on the fact. With real-time data about consumer activity at their fingertips, retailers are using this technology to optimise their operations in a variety of ways. While the use of in-store beacons is still in its infancy (due to the fact that in order to gather data, shoppers have to be using the corresponding app in the first place), retailers across the board are implementing foot traffic software that uses wifi pings to measure footfall and dwell time. Thanks to this technology, gleaning insight into floor traffic, walk-by rates, and the patterns therein is easier than ever. (And the data is incredibly telling to boot.)

mPOS solutions simplify – and elevate – store management

The old-school cash register is all grown up. Mobile point of sale systems are not only giving staff and shoppers an easier way to accept and make payments, they’re also equipping retailers with invaluable data about their inventory, sales, ecommerce performance and customer activity. In short, this retail technology trend offers retailers a holistic, accurate view of their store’s performance and actionable data that enables them to enhance the customer’s experience. As well as streamlining the shopping experience for patrons (why wait in line when you can pay on the shop floor?), the tablet and mobile phone based payment points replace the bulky eyesores of traditional tills, providing an amplified aesthetic experience to boot.

Multi-layered consumer behaviour means omni-channel strategies are now de rigueur

As retailers wake up the fact that their target market consists of consumers who fall into all three stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision), the need to cater to every single one of these is more pressing than ever before. In addition, the rise of second-screening, and the influence this has on consumer behaviour means that in order to attract – and retain –  the attention of your consumers, you need to be in multiple spaces at once. Enter: omnichannel marketing strategies – one retail technology trend that’s bound to stick around. By being present on several channels, retailers are able to ensure that once interest is piqued (whether online or off), they’re serving their customers with relevant content across multiple touch points (like a website, mobile app, social media account, and in-store). Essentially, the aim of omnichannel marketing strategies is to enable customers to move seamlessly from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next, in a way that’s enjoyable, relevant and engaging.  

Customers adopt mobile payment apps with open wallets

The one thing your consumers never leave home without? Their mobile phones. Possibly one of the most influential retail technology trends, mobile payment apps (not to be confused with mPOS) are making the worst part of shopping (in the eyes of the customer, that is), far less painful. Instead of having to root around for cash or a card, consumers are using payment apps at an accelerated rate. Expected to reach 1 trillion US dollars in 2019, this is one retail technology trend that’s set to stay.

Retail analytics tools serve up invaluable data

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll have heard buzz phrases like ‘meaningful metrics’, ‘actionable data’ and ‘agile analytics’ being flung around with much fervour. There’s a good reason why data evangelists feel so strongly about the plethora of information swarming around the ether; simply put, having access to data is the first step in well, everything. By collecting and analysing information about consumer behaviour, foot traffic, web traffic and social media activity (the list goes on and on), you’re able to better understand your customers, streamline your operations and amplify your offering on the whole. Thanks to retail analytics tools and software, optimising retail sales or marketing strategies no longer takes an extended amount of time or a considerable amount of head scratching. Why? Because smart retail analytics tools do the hard work for you.

Learn more about Blix Traffic Media Attribution – one easy-to-use platform to analyse media spend and sales data to help you optimise campaigns, gain transparency in performance across platforms and better equip your staff.

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