Technology is Changing Retail: Watch These Trends in 2019
According to an e-commerce trend report over half of Americans prefer to shop online. Technology has changed the way retailers and consumers interact, allowing marketers to build an online image for their brand. Let’s take a look at a few ways technology is changing retail and what trends to watch for in 2019.
More than 86 million Americans use their phones to online shop, according to comScore Inc. Research also found that four out of five smartphone users do a good amount of research before purchasing a product. This means retailers now need to ensure they are maintaining a solid online presence while receiving positive reviews and making sure their website is easy to use and mobile-friendly.
The retail market online is very price-sensitive and competitive. Online retailers are choosing to employ dynamic pricing strategies so that the services offered are changed depending on the supply and demand. The flexible pricing strategy lets retailers change the prices of their products based on both internal and external components. If a retailer has a fast-moving product, they will temporarily increase the price to avoid a complete depletion of stocks and vice versa with lowering price if a firm’s sales targets are too high. Dynamic pricing also allows retailers to monitor their competitor’s pricing strategies. The real-time price adjustments significantly impact the bottom line of e-commerce firms.
Gartner research found that 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed by Artificial Intelligence. Retailers are continuing to utilize Artificial Intelligence to stay ahead of the competition, like chatbots that will interact with customers online. AI is also beginning to handle customer information, analyze and influence buying behavior, prevent fraudulent transactions, predict consumer behavior and enable online retailers to automate their businesses. Amazon’s Alexa will give product recommendations when customers order using the virtual assistant.
High Supply Chain Efficiency
Today, buyers want to be able to order something and receive it within hours or just a couple of days. Consumers expect top notch customer service and to be notified of every step of the delivery process. Retail technology is helping online retailers improve their supply chain and logistics using the lean methodology to streamline processes and get rid of operations that are the least efficient. Direct delivery to stores, cross-docking, real-time delivery, cross-functional integration are all supply chain practices that are assisting these business processes in becoming more efficient.
Consumers spend a great deal of time on social media channels and review sites looking at product reviews before they decide to make the purchase. Shoppers first conduct online research by watching promotional brand videos and looking at product photographs before purchasing the product from the retailer. This is why retailers must make sure they are present on a variety of online channels so that consumers can gain a holistic view of the company and its products.
Technology is spearheading the popularity of online shopping by giving retailers the opportunity to market and sell their products in different ways and find innovative ways to interact and reach customers.