Reshaping Retail With These 8 Tech Trends

RetailConvenience is more critical than ever for shoppers, whether they’re asking questions about products on social media or researching items prior to arriving in a retail store. This has prompted retailers large and small to embrace new technology that enhances their in-store experiences, allows them to be more competitive and generates additional revenue from customers who shop online.

Here’s a look at eight tech trends that are reshaping retail:


1. Intelligently Tailored Experiences

Now that customers can compare prices online and read reviews of products in a matter of seconds, retailers have to put even more effort into the in-store experience. By coupling customer data with sensors and cameras that track shoppers’ movements and preferences, stores can deliver highly customized experiences that are tailored to individual shoppers’ needs.


2. Allowing Customers To Buy Anytime From Anywhere

Today’s digital native shoppers want anytime/anywhere access to a retailer’s products. They also expect the ability to buy online from their mobile devices, and any retailer that doesn’t offer this convenience will fall behind.


3. Generating More Revenue In-Store And Online

Retailers are seeking tech solutions that allow them to capture both in-store and online sales. By leveraging the internet of things to help visualize products within a store, retailers can offer shoppers augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) experiences that encourage them to buy in-store as well as online.


4. Improving The In-Store Shopping Experience

Retailers are also focusing on better ways to engage shoppers in-store by offering helpful technology, such as the ability to connect with a customer service representative through an app. Once connected, customers can scan products’ barcodes or take photos of items they want more information about and receive instant answers.


5. Increasing Brick-And-Mortar Sales With Online Technology

In addition to engaging customers with AR and VR, retailers are seeking technology that helps them more effectively leverage physical products. The idea is to let shoppers view these items virtually in the same manner as they can arrange furniture and other household goods through sites such as Houzz , then place an order for delivery or pickup from a nearby store location.


6. Building A Stronger Relationship With Customers

With more than half of U.S. shoppers using social media to research products and services, retailers are turning to this channel — particularly Facebook — as an effective way to better engage with consumers online. Retailers also are using chatbots on messaging apps such as Kik and Telegram that let them send shoppers information about products directly on their smartphones.


7. Improving Store Operations And Marketing

Retailers also can use smart technology to alert store associates or managers when certain items sell out, which helps them restock shelves more quickly — and strike up conversations with customers who might be interested in other merchandise nearby.  Plus, analytics from the technology can help retailers track their marketing campaigns with data about how many customers visit stores and make purchases after seeing ads on specific media.


8. Engaging With Customers Using Voice Assistants And Virtual Assistance

Nearly half of consumers who are aware of voice assistants such as Amazon, Alexa, or Google Home use them to shop for products, according to a survey by Accenture. And retailers should be prepared to leverage these tools by examining how they can tap into voice assistants to find out if shoppers need help with any products or to answer product-related questions.


These eight retail trends offer a starting point for store owners who want to increase traffic and sales using technology.  While each trend entails a different level of investment, the return on that investment can be significant. For example, retailers who go for an in-store AR experience for their customers will need to invest in technology and training employees to use it effectively. But they’ll also have an opportunity to better engage with shoppers and increase sales as well as customer loyalty.

With so much at stake, technology — not just in-store demos and other high-tech marketing tactics — should be part of any brick-and-mortar retailer’s strategy.


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