Changes in technology during the last decade have impacted every aspect of business, and this pace of change is likely to continue. To find out how upcoming changes could impact local or regional stores, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council said the following:
What developing technology do you see having the biggest positive impact on brick and mortar retail businesses in the next few years?
Here are some tech trends retailers will want to watch.
1. Augmented Reality
AR is evolving at a rapid pace. We are expecting to see it pop up in various big-name storefronts first, with functions that allow users to shop and browse with ease. As this technology is implemented into more brick-and-mortar stores, I expect to see the uses stretch and change based on the individual needs of each business. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
2. Customization Through Technology
Brick-and-mortar retail stores are seeing more personalization spread throughout their brand to cater to customers and build customer loyalty. There’s 3D-printed apparel, body scanning and customizable sizing so that consumers get exactly what they’re looking for. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
Automation is essential to the way we operate from our phones and laptops, but it could soon have a much more prominent role in our interactions inside physical stores. It’s likely that we will see more automated cashiers and customer care staff as time goes on. This could represent a positive shift, as it helps low-level employees learn new skills and gain experience. – David Henzel, LTVPlus
Beacons are a part of the internet of things and they’re able to track customers throughout a store and send them relevant messages. For instance, a shopper browsing in a large department store can be sent a notification that alerts them to a huge sale in a particular area of the store. Beacons will not only help drive sales but can help you learn more about the behavior of your customers too. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Mobile and In-App Features
Retail stores are learning from e-commerce and developing strategies to cater to consumers online. That means creating an app for their brand with information about products, hours, services, locations, special offers and more. Visual and voice search are popular methods among consumers to find retailers that cater to their needs and provide easy navigation. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
6. Automated Checkout
I believe this year we will begin to see automated checkout ramping up. When you think of common places where we waste the most time, in line at the grocery store is at the top of the list. With businesses wanting to cut back on expenses and people wanting to be more productive with their days, automated checkouts is a big thing of the future. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy
The internet of things has the potential to set up kind of a retail renaissance. Devices that enhance customer experiences will start bringing them back into stores. Efficient mobile payment and inventory systems will reduce wait times and shortages. Augmented reality and other innovations will give consumers personalized in-store contact with merchandise that they can’t get online. – Jaime Manteiga, Venkon.us
8. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence will have a tremendous impact on legacy retailers. Robotic automation and AI will vastly transform the in-store experience through humanoid interactions to increase customer concierge touchpoints and sales assistance. Consumer spending recommendation engines will guide the shopper to what they want and/or need, even if they do not realize it upon entering the store. – Susan Rebner, Cyleron, Inc.
Bitcoin adoption among brick-and-mortar businesses will increase exponentially over the next few years. It has been 10 years already since the creation of Bitcoin and it has only increased in price and popularity since then. Many large companies are accepting Bitcoin already. It’s only a matter of time for smaller businesses to follow. – Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media
10. Cloud-Based Point-of-Sale Systems
The explosion in cloud-based POS systems will continue to grow and have a significant positive impact on brick-and-mortar retail businesses. Many cloud-based POS systems are more cost-effective and more highly capable than legacy systems. These systems have great features such as better loyalty tracking, more reliable reporting, more affordable hardware and increased data visibility and mobility. – Matthew Weinberg, Happy Cog