TechDogs-"Retail Technology Trends 2024"

Retail Technology

Retail Technology Trends 2024

By TechDogs

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While each sector has dramatically changed over the past few years, retail has had the maximum impact as players have embraced the latest technology-driven trends. Consumers want everything instantly - customer care that is available 24 by 7, personalized communication across the buying journey, omnichannel outlets and various, convenient payment options for retail therapy – the list is endless!

Over the next few years, the face of advertising, branding, marketing and other retail sectors is set to undergo radical changes, thanks to emerging technology trends within the retail space.

Think: a few years ago, you probably went down to your favorite outlet, paid in physical currency and stepped outside the store with the goods you needed. In the modern retail era, we have limitless payment options, curated product suggestions and personalized deals at the tip of our fingers. So, what drove this change in consumer behavior?

Well, to understand that and how the retail industry is embracing the changes in consumer behavior, read on and find the top five Retail Technology Trends of 2024!
TechDogs-"Retail Technology Trends 2024"
Ok, we must admit that we have two weaknesses. One is our love for technology and the other for shopping. We cannot resist looking at the Met Gala red carpet looks, or what the NY Fashion Week has to offer – much like Rebecca Bloomwood. If this name is familiar, we probably share a common love for retail and the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. In this story, the main character Rebecca is looking for happiness and love in the places that are right for her: Prada, Gucci, Macy's, Barneys, Saks and on down the avenue.

Rebecca shares the manic bliss she feels while shopping and the movie takes us from store after store through an endless cycle of outfits, then accessories, then more outfits – you get the drill. Imagine if Rebecca lived in the digital world of today, where she could access the world with just a click! We are flooded with content and retailers trying to make it past our limited span of attention and grab us by our wallets.

Retail enabled with technology today is limitless! With the ever-increasing demand, higher standards of living, increasing spending power and endless payment options with credit lines – retail has bucked up its game. Last year we saw Gen Z and Millennials rule the face of Digital Retail, blockchain, IoT and cookies made their impact. Solutions like ROPIS, BOPAC and BORIS (no, these are not the new PS5 games) take shape and most importantly the advent and importance of personalization.

What are the latest Retail Technology trends in 2024 and what does the future of retail hold? Let’s find out together!

Trend 1: Direct-to-Customers And Omnichannel Strategy Will Take Precedence

TechDogs-"Trend 1: Direct-to-Customers And Omnichannel Strategy Will Take Precedence"-"A Meme About DTC Omni-channel Retail"
Here, there, where? You need to be everywhere in the modern retail world as a single distribution channel is inadequate. Direct-to-Customers (DTC) and omni-channel have existed for a long time but it’s time for retailers to level up. Customer relationship needs to be digital-centric, making digital channels the ideal source of retail growth influencing customer purchase rates. This close connection between DTC and omni-channel strategies will see greater emphasis from retailers in 2024.

On average, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers. We can learn a thing or two in this regard from Disney. They create a truly omni-channel experience by providing a multitude of different features and tools for customers. From interactive virtual platforms to on-premises experiences at Disneyland, the Disney Experience tool helps plan your day from dining to rides, hotel room key, photo storage device and even a food ordering tool. Hence, we expect other retail businesses to emulate a similar omnichannel approach in 2024.

TechDogs’ Takeaway: How can you hone this trend? Start by optimizing your brick-and-mortar stores using options such as click-and-collect and in-store pickup/return to make your brand stand out, generating a competitive advantage. Many consumers still enjoy going to physical stores to touch and see products and ensuring offline retail channels support this. Next, use voice and social commerce to enable in-app purchases through smart speakers, virtual assistance and user-generated content to showcase their services and products. You can consider cross-channel customer support. Consumers want to purchase where and how it’s most convenient — and the same goes for customer support. Finally, if you’re going to double down on having a presence on multiple channels, you need to also make sure you can provide customer support across all channels.

Trend 2: The Customer Journey Will Be More And More Personalized

TechDogs-"Trend 2: The Customer Journey Will Be More And More Personalized"-"A Meme About Retail Personalization"
Brands want to provide every shopper with a unique journey across every single touchpoint and channel, based on historical data and real-time shopper intent, powered by customer and product intelligence. The ultimate goal of retail and ecommerce personalization is to make shoppers feel unique, special and emotionally connected, to improve their shopping experience, something that will define retail in 2024.

Today, shoppers are willing to pay up to 16% more for personalized shopping experiences and most feel frustrated when the website content is irrelevant for them. This is a major cause of the abandoned cart rate in the digital landscape. Retail personalization is explained beautifully by none other than Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, saying, “If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.” Amazon truly creates a unique journey for each of its members with this mindset and retailers will enhance efforts to offer personalization to consumers in 2024.

TechDogs’ Takeaway: To stay ahead in the personalization game, use big data for shoppers’ profiles. Data forms the foundation of a memorable retail experience and a database distributed across the retailer’s value chain can be a proverbial goldmine in helping retailers create profiles for every shopper. Next, implement contextual shopper intelligence using computer vision-based dynamic retail personalization to uncover shopper intent using a variety of signals. Each interaction on a product allows the algorithms to clarify a shopper’s specific attributes, such as preferences, dislikes, likes, etc. Finally, leverage curated recommendations based on data and consumer mapping to suggest personalized top picks. This can show consumers what is trending as well as how it aligns with their tastes, inspired by insights into their browsing history.

Trend 3: The Use Of AI, ML And GenAI Will Be Even Stronger

TechDogs-"Trend 3: The Use Of AI, ML And GenAI Will Be Even Stronger"-"A Meme About AI/ML In Retail"
Yes, we know every trend in 2024 is dominated by AI. It’s the Kraken that’s taken over us all! Yet, it’s for good reason. AI and Machine Learning have been used in retail for a long time, with Amazon being at the forefront of this. Since ML algorithms can recommend related products to customers based on their previous shopping history, location and purchase habits of other similar customers, it has been a staple in retail. However, in 2024, AI will be used at every step of the customer journey, from generating leads, discovering new products, responding, customer care and even retention.

With Generative AI, retailers will be able to create new content and customer outreach messaging that aligns with their preferences, driven by analytics that rely on AI/ML. Hence, the trio of AI/ML/GenAI will find major adoption in 2024. Brad LaRock, Vice-President of Marketing at Datasembly validates, “Retailers should bet on ML and AI technologies to help analyze data from multiple channels. (AI/ML) algorithms can help retailers optimize assortment, innovation, pricing, inventory levels and supply chain operations.”

TechDogs’ Takeaway: So, how should retailers use the latest AI in retail? Well, leverage AI for dynamic price optimization as AI algorithms can analyze real-time data on market conditions, competitor prices and customer demand to dynamically adjust pricing strategies, helping retailers maximize revenue and optimize profit margins. Next, use AI for product catalog management to automate product tagging, create high-quality text and image content for products and assort product catalogs for better search and discovery, improving the accuracy of product catalogs. Finally, retailers can showcase inclusivity with GenAI, for example, by generating imagery of models with different body and skin types for product demos.

Trend 4: Retail Automation Will Reach New Heights

TechDogs-"Trend 4: Retail Automation Will Reach New Heights"-"A Meme About Retail Autmation"
Did you know that 52% of all retail activities can be automated with existing technology? Retail automation is the process of using technologies to perform repetitive tasks with minimal human intervention. In short, it uses technology to streamline different processes regarding running stores — both online and offline — including marketing, customer relationships, analytics, logistics, etc. In 2024, retail automation will bring good news and bad.

After all, retail automation can generate 300 to 500 basis points of incremental margin, a godsend for retailers facing margin pressures. This includes workflow automation, such as backend tasks, reporting, invoicing, etc. However, there’s concern about unemployment as automation can affect many jobs in the retail space. Whilst this sounds grim, the good news is that when most of these tasks are automated, employees can switch their attention to what matters most — making and keeping clients happy.

Paul Stephens, Head of Data & Technology, at Neal’s Yard Remedies says, “We have a very complex business where we make our own products that we manufacture, distribute, and sell across multiple channels in different markets across the globe. We need to introduce simplicity into our systems where we can.” This alludes to the growing trend of automating tasks within the retail space to create reliability and simplicity in operations.

TechDogs’ Takeaway: Start by using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools for tasks such as answering common customer queries, generating invoices, inventory management, orders and returns management, product catalog management, etc. Also, adopt retail automation tools for day-to-day tasks like analytics that can help retail businesses make better decisions in a faster and easier way by automating data collection from different sources and presenting this data in a single dashboard. Finally, Businesses can implement retail automation tools for invoicing, generating reports, customer care and much more. This will enable retailers to automate inventory management, order fulfillment, warehousing and in-store automation soon.

Trend 5: Marketers Will Dig Deeper Into Retail Data

TechDogs-"Trend 5: Marketers Will Dig Deeper Into Retail Data"-"A Meme About Retail Data"
Amidst the AI bubble, we couldn’t help but notice the emergence of an even more niche dataset, one that advertisers, marketers and agencies are turning more and more to – retail data. After all, data has always been a treasured asset but with the exit of third-party cookies, brands are creating their database and acquiring authentic data. As consumers are slowly agreeing to share information with brands to see if there’s any value in the data exchange, retailers need to step up in 2024 and create in-depth retail datasets.

“I think one of the most emerging trends, which is coming up in digital advertising is retail data. What it refers to is rich first-party data that belongs to retailers. And it can be anything from a shopping spend, purchase preferences, to shopping cart content and loyalty programs because retailers are sitting on a massive treasure of highly valuable opt-in data,” shared Tejinder Gill, General Manager, The Trade Desk. Hence, many brands and businesses in retail are expected to focus on creating retail datasets to give themselves a competitive advantage in 2024.

TechDogs’ Takeaway: Retailers can start by leveraging cloud data integration solutions and Ecommerce data integration software as they provide a 360-degree view of customer shopping behavior and visibility into inventory. Moreover, robust retail data analytics and insights platforms can equip you with detailed analytical data to make more informed and strategic decisions by analyzing retail key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the total sales volume, average transaction size, retail conversion rate, rate of return, etc. Next, using recommendation engines as algorithms can improve the visibility of your products for customers based on various factors such as customers’ purchasing habits or Ecommerce trends. Remember Trend 3 where we mentioned retailers adopting AI/ML? As shared above, using the right AI-ML-driven analytics integrations, retailers can harness this big retail data to provide employees with a clearer picture of individual consumers.

To Sum Up

Traditionally, store operations, assortment, customer experience and supply chains were the four major pillars of the retail industry. Today, modern technologies have created several opportunities to reinvent these pillars – from tech-driven stores to customized customer experiences and restructured supply chains for personalized shopping, to catch up with the ever-evolving consumer behaviors, retailers must stay adept in their approach.

As trends keep changing in retail, 2024 will be no exception. Brands that can adapt will have higher chances of customer retention and success. We hope we have achieved our aim to arm you with the latest knowledge and trends to keep you ahead of the curve!

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Retail Technology 2024 Retail Technology Retail Technology Trends Direct-to-Customer (DTC) Personalization Artififical Intelligence (AI) Machine Learning (ML) In Retail Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) Datafication Algorithmic Retail Demand Forecasting Technology Trends Inventory Management


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