Retailers will engage new channels, “geek up” their stores, and use technology to refine inventory management and anticipate customer desires in 2017.
That’s according to Software AG, which released a list of six disruptive digital trends retailers must address in 2017. Here’s a recap:
1.New tribes of the Amazon-ization: There will be further “Amazonization” of retail, with new market entrants – as well as existing retailers - finding new ways to sell, fulfill and deliver products to eager, often impatient, consumers.
2. “Conversational” commerce: Retailers will quickly adapt and connect into new channels to engage with customers, using avenues including “conversational commerce” – Amazon Echo or Bots in Facebook Messenger.
3. Real-time inventory: Real-time inventory will be a reality, as more retailers realize that a rip-and-replace program for core merchandising, warehouse and store systems is not the best – or the quickest - way forward. The smartest retailers will look for other approaches like using in-memory caching combined with high speed messaging in order to provide real-time inventory levels across every location, channel, store and shipment.
4. Stores “geek up” to attract customers: Customers want to see techie gadgets when they go into brick-and-mortar stores, and retailers are going to be adding cool things like robots that give them directions, kiosks for in-store ordering, and magic mirrors for trying on clothes.
5. IoT in the kitchen: IoT will start to creep into your kitchens as devices like Amazon Echo, Hiku and others allow consumers to add things to their shopping lists. Conversational commerce will be a precursor to Artificial Intelligence and then “cognitive commerce,” which will appear over the next few years.
6. Retail as big brother: The arrival of “anticipatory customer experience” will allow retailers to manage customer expectations earlier and earlier in the sales process. This, in turn, can help retailers solidify an emotional attachment to their brand, offering customers what they want before they know they want it.
“As retailers get to grips with real-time inventory, geek up their stores to attract new customers and begin to predict what customers want early in the sales cycle, they will have a much easier time taking advantage of the ‘retail moment,’” said Oliver Guy, global industry director for retail, Software AG. “All of this entails being able to orchestrate across systems in order to be able to fulfill the customer promise.”