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How is technology set to change retail?

By Greg Bell

It's no secret that rapid developments in technology is transforming how businesses operate – from fully digitised offices to automated warehouses. Retail spaces aren't exempt from this change – in fact, the future of shopping and consumer experiences are set to undergo major shifts.

Personalised shopping experiences

In today's age of constant advertising, consumers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of products per day. Personalising the shopping experience for your business helps in grabbing the attention of your customers. Traditionally, this involves including the customer's name on an email, or sending out a special voucher on their birthday. In the future, personalisation is set to move into overdrive.

A business can now completely tailor customers' online shopping experiences through special processes that recognise patterns in consumers browsing or purchasing habits, using them to offer related products or services. This strategy has proven successful – 80 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from a business which offers a personalised shopping experience, according to research from Epsilon.

Embracing robotics

Twenty years ago, the idea of working alongside robots was a terrifying abstract best left to the world of science-fiction. These days, all businesses are embracing robotics into their everyday processes, including on the shop floor. Retail giant Walmart is tackling this concept head on, introducing autonomous floor cleaners and shelf scanners into their stores.

There are huge benefits to automating certain processes of business operations. For one, your staff have more time to spend interacting with customers and selling merchandise, rather than tracking inventory and cleaning. With automation switching up the world of warehousing too, its fair to say Australia is undoubtedly heading towards a robot revolution.

Automated apps

There are an increasing number of retail stores who have taken their business into the palms of customers through the use of apps. In the future, however, the realm of e-commerce is quickly morphing into a-commerce – automated commerce. In the present day, a-commerce is very much in an elementary stage. While chat-bots and automated customer service is commonplace across a range of industries, plenty of research is needed to create a true, human-like virtual assistant.

However, that's not to say major strides haven't been achieved – many retail stores allow customers to pay using their mobile phone, and a UK banking company released an app in 2018 which recognises a users location and automatically switches on travel insurance when they travel into different countries.

Integrating the Internet of Things

Homes and businesses all over the world are embracing the Internet of Things, where internet connectivity is embedded into various devices and everyday objects. We've seen this feature in sports shoes to analyse and improve performance, as well as in home virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa. Across the ditch in New Zealand, a smart shopping cart is in the trial stages, recognising products as soon as they're put into the trolley, and significantly reducing checkout times.

Another exciting addition appearing in clothing stores are digital mirrors. These let customers compare outfits they've tried on, recorded through 360 video. The mirrors also act as a touchpoint between customer and retail assistant. If an item doesn't fit, simply tap the mirror and an assistant is alerted to help you out. This tech not only benefits the shopper through ease of use, but a business too, as an automated system can recommend customers other items to try on based on images already recorded.

Though the future may seem far away, it's best to embrace new technology in order to keep up with the changing times. If you're looking for a new Gold Coast property to bring your business into the future, get in touch with the friendly team at Ray White Surfers Paradise.

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