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The future of retail is here today

One thing we know for sure is that new emerging technology and changing customer behaviour continues to disrupt the retail industry. Never before have we seen such vast and dramatic change with traditional retailers facing do or die decision making to stay relevant and competitive in the future.

New technologies however bring with them vast potential that was unimaginable even a few years ago and those who are open and willing to seize these new opportunities will continue to thrive in the digital era. Staying on top of current trends has never been more important.

AI and VR technology continues to develop and is being already being used by top retailers including Amazon, Ikea, Sephora and L'Oreal. AI and robotics are high on investment agenda’s along with voice and visual search. Other key technologies are payment capabilities, mobile apps and other internal systems.

The Global Retail Sector will be spending almost $103.6 billion in 2019 in upgrading technology

Source: TECH., A world in motion. Retail digital transformation across the globe, and the technology supporting it

Identifying a single view of the customer and driving personalisation of individual customer experiences are the main omnichannel priorities for retailers this year.

French retailer Decathlon’s move to open a completely cashless and checkout-free store in the US has been made as part of a drive to get staff to conduct more personalised and proactive customer service in the store as opposed to manning the registers. This is a commonly stated desire by retailers around the globe as they pledge to put customer experience at the heart of operations.

And this from Judith McKenna, President and CEO Walmart International.

“At Walmart, we’re looking at automation head on. One of the things that has made the biggest difference is that automation is freeing our associates up to do what they love, enjoy and what our customers ask for, which is the freedom to sell and to serve. So, as an organisation we’re learning that we don’t have to make a choice between doing good for the business and for our people as well”

So, whilst the pace of technological change is rapid and investment requirements high, the positive is with all this comes great opportunities for retailers to continue to grow, profit and succeed whilst still putting the customer and their employees at the heart of doing business.

Retail Week launched Tech. a world retail congress two years ago in response to this disruption and has created a two day festival that brings together retailers, start-ups, brands, FMCT and leading universities to build and share an understanding of how we transform e-commerce and the new future together.

The Retail Life team are thrilled to be partnering with Tech-Festival in London and are looking forward to bringing back cutting-edge ideas and concepts that we will be able to share with Australian Retailers. With Key speakers from Google, Ebay, Apple, Amazon and Ikea to name a few, we can’t wait to bring the future to you.

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