The 4 Most Promising Technological Advancements in Retail sector (2023)

The 4 Most Promising Technological Advancements in Retail sector (2023)

Technological advancements in retail sector is an ongoing process and those advancements are influenced by a variety of factors like innovations, government policies, norms, customer behaviour and requirements etc.

The retail journey starts from the stage of production to selling the item or product to the consumers. We are familiar with diverse retail establishments and outlets that sell various stuffs like groceries, clothing, restaurants and many more.

By the end of 2025, the Global retail sales is expected to reach around 32 trillion US dollars. It is interesting to note that the figure was just under 24 trillion US dollars in 2020. And the expected increase, within a span of 5 years, is promising as far as the retail sector is concerned. The calculated implementation of technology in retail facilitates an omnichannel buying experience for the customers.

Before delving into the technological advancements, let us analyse the context in connection with the Covid 19 pandemic.

retail kiosk
retail technology

How the pandemic affected the retail sector?

The last decade had witnessed many exciting technological advancements in retail sector. One among them was the contactless payment option. After the Covid outbreak, contactless payment became a necessity to curtail the spread of the pandemic. In a way, the pandemic served as a “facilitator” in the widespread implementation of technology in retail.

The retail sector was one of the most affected during the pandemic. The self-distancing norms forced the physical retail outlets, stores and all other establishments to close down for months and the result was complete inactivity.

Continuous closure of stores brought about huge financial losses to the retail sector. It might take several months or even years of dedicated customer care and service for a new customer to turn into a loyal customer. The pandemic caused huge damage to this retailer-customer relationship, which in-turn, caused irreparable damage to many small retailers.

The ever-increasing need for online channels, reduced in-store customers, and the hard-hit supply chain, all presented a tough time for the retailers.

Most of the small retailers are in the stage of recovery after they got hit by the pandemic.

The latest technological advancements in retail sector

In this article, we are focussing on 4 different technological aspects pertaining to retail which would have a huge impact on the global retail business. And they are:

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things is a large group of interconnected devices that share data with each other.

Internet of Things means a lot to the retail sector. IoT is the gateway to full-fledged digital retail outlets. And the figures support this claim. In 2021, the value of Global IOT in retail market was $28.14 billion. Of course, the implications of Covid-19 were evident in 2021. However, within a span of 10 years, the value is expected to reach around $188 billion, which means a CAGR of more than 20%.

IoT would bring about a significant transformation in our understanding of a physical retail outlet. If implemented meticulously, IoT would overhaul the physical retail outlet into a highly sophisticated, digital outlet.

IOT

The retail establishment can perform a number of tasks with ease and utmost efficiency with the help of IoT like inventory tracking & management, behaviour tracking of buyers, precise monitoring of the outlet, streamline supply chain etc. Augmented Reality and AI are indispensable aspects of IOT as they help retail establishments gather vital data of the customers in connection with purchase and transactions.

IoT also helps to simplify the checkout process through automation. The simplified checkout process attracts more customers to the store and keeps in-store human intervention to the minimum. IOT guarantees far more engaging and personalised shopping experiences for the customers.

As part of regulating human intervention and improving the operational efficiency, retail establishments worldwide are deploying more and more self-checkout kiosks across outlets. Even AI-powered self-checkout kiosks are deployed nowadays to make the process much more convenient. Automated self-service kiosks, automated robots, smart shelves, RFID technology and others have already started to make a notable impact in the retail sector.

grab and go

“Grab and Go” purchase

Many retail stores around the globe have already been inspired by the Amazon Go concept. Amazon Go offers a “grab and go” approach by leveraging cutting edge technology to enhance the shopping experience of the customers. Amazon calls it by the name “Just Walk Out Technology”. Amazon claims that the technology adopted is similar to the one that operates self-driving cars.

The technology used in Amazon Go store works by tracking the customer’s actions of purchase like lifting a particular product from the rack and placing it back on the rack. All these actions are monitored via a virtual platform. The customer is allowed to make the desired purchase, and after completing the shopping can just walk out of the store. The customer is billed later based on the items purchased via the Amazon account.

“Grab and go” offers a cashier-less experience for the customers and it also helps to avoid long lines. For a “grab and go” shopping experience, the customer needs a shopping account, the connected shopping mobile app, and a smartphone.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology works on face print recognition that scans the face of a person for the purpose of identification.

Recognizing the customers when they enter into the store or outlet is far better than recognizing them at the point of sales. The crucial aspect here is “Time”. The retailer gets ample time to take certain vital decisions that could result in sales. If the retailer can identify the customer, at the time of entry, the person can inform the staff of the particular customer based on the customer profile and previous purchases. And this opens up the opportunity to provide personalised offers, suggestions and deals directly to the customer.

The customer identification helps the retailers create customer profiles and have an understanding of the buying patterns and preferences of the customer. This is a valuable data as far as every retailer is concerned.

Another worth-mentioning feature of facial recognition technology is that, the technology helps to capture the facial expressions and emotions of the customer. For example, if the customer’s facial expression signals “doubt” or “concern”, the sales team or even the store manager can straight away talk to the customer.

And of course, facial recognition technology has a special mention when it comes to retail loss prevention. The technology can be employed to track criminal activities like theft in the retail premises. The faces can be compared against a database of previous offenders, thereby preventing the entry of potential troublemakers and criminals.

Facial Recognition
retail self service kiosk

Retail Kiosk

And last but not least is the Retail Kiosk. Retail kiosk is a self-service kiosk that serves as an automated sales platform for the retail customers. The retail kiosks machines are already deployed in many of the major retail outlets across the world and they are not new. But they are still a major technological advancement in many of the small to medium outlets.

Modern retail kiosks come with “contactless user screen” and employ AI to make the shopping process more convenient for the customers. The “contactless user screen” works based on the touchless technology that facilitates user-system interaction without any physical contact. The technology depends on algorithms to understand human movements or gestures.

Panashi Retail Kiosk Is loaded with a highly interactive touchscreen which offers a unique shopping experience. The retailers can easily target products to customers based on their previous purchase. To add on, Panashi retail kiosks are designed to perfectly suit the aesthetics of the retail settings.

The added benefits of the retail kiosks are mentioned below.

  • Increased sales
  • Serves as an online shopping extension of retail
  • Omnichannel shopping experience for customers.
  • Offer customer loyalty programs easily
  • Helps in promotion and advertising

It is proven that technological advancements in retail sector is mostly driven by Artificial Intelligence. Hence the innovations and research going on in the field of AI is expected to do wonders in retail industry in the near future. The retail sector is highly competitive and retailers do their best to gain the competitive edge. Therefore, in order to remain in the spotlight, it is necessary to sharpen your “tools” and update them if necessary. The businesses that show complacency are destined to be left behind in the race.

Understand your customer needs, get customer feedbacks from your loyal customers and do the necessary tweaks. Have a clear and precise understanding about the latest happenings and innovations in the tech-domain. Try to implement new technology into your business like RFID or smart shelves. And analyse the results.

Be awake and remain proactive!