Technology’s Impact on the Retail SectorBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 01/12/2021 - 10:00
Companies are looking for new ways to capture the attention of the customer and to offer them a complete experience that makes them feel as if they are in the store but with all the perks of being online: no lines, full availability of products and time efficiency.
Virtual Reality (VR) has become one of the new members of the retail world. Now that going to the stores is not a viable option, this technology has become an alternative to provide a complete experience to the buyer. In general, digital tools have gained new importance in the market, especially in Mexico. Their adoption was not a priority until the pandemic hit. Still, results show success after just one year of investing in this area.
In countries like China, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the retail sector has been in the picture for some time now. There are even options to try on clothes using mirror-like screens so the customer does not actually have to try them on. However, Mexico and Latin America are still a little behind in this process, according to América Retail.
The importance of e-commerce, however, has been discussed by bodies like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), as reported by MBN, which seek to provide countries with the needed support to generate better outcomes and take advantage of opportunities in the retail sector. Customers are getting used to buying online a little more every day, but this also means that expectations are starting to rise, which means competition is also expected to grow.
In terms of opportunities that could be seized by Mexico, as reported by MBN, digital payments are becoming a regular process and they are also fostering economic inclusion. Other trends to have in mind that will reshape the future of the retail industry, according to MobiDev, will be:
- Developing a commerce-friendly POS system. Syncing online and offline sales will be a challenge once people can go back to stores. Developing a plan to manage both could be a real time-saver in the future.
- Demand forecasting learning machines. By optimizing demand forecasts, companies will prevent overstocking and could even reduce their environmental impact.
- Augmented shopping. As mentioned earlier, some stores have developed ways to make customers feel as if they were in the store, even if it is through a screen. This sort of new shopping experience could make customers more attracted to the product and the experience.
- Personalized tools. Developing programs that provide personalized recommendations based on the customer's desires and needs is becoming very attractive due to the lack of human interaction at the moment. There is a big difference between entering a shop and shopping by yourself and having someone catering to your every need.