Over the past ten years or so, technology in retail has transformed the industry.
Long gone are the days of painstakingly measuring customer statistics in brick-and-mortar stores or fulfilling inventory with pen and paper – digital technology has marketability sorted with a click.
Move over, garlic bread. Tech’s the future.
“But Reapp,” we hear you cry. “That’s such a broad statement, of course we know technology is the future!”
Absolutely, we reply.
But how exactly are retail technology trends and developments set to help brands shine on the shelf – and what’s actually worth investing in?
Lucky for you, we know a fair bit about retail software and top-notch digital solutions.
As the creators of Reapp, your one-stop shop for actionable analytics and seamless sales, we’re here to give you the skinny on the technology advancing our sector.
In this blog, we’ll touch on:
- What is smart retail tech?
- The need for it within modern retail marketing
- How modern technology has impacted how consumers shop
- Insights into how customer-first tech can create value
- And much more!
After all, knowledge is power. And we’re all about passing that good stuff around.
So let’s jump in.
What is smart retail technology, anyway?
It’s the million-dollar question.
But essentially, smart retail technology is the use of digital solutions that make the customer experience even better.
It can also make retail processes faster, safer, and even personalised depending on how it is deployed in strategy and on the shop floor, improving results across the board for customers and the brands they interact with.
This smart tech can also allow wider online experiences to be brought in-store, giving marketers the power to close sales funnels started on apps, digital loyalty cards, or omnichannel marketing to activate those all-important customer conversions.
Two of the main joys of retail technology are its scalability and adaptability.
Much like toast crumbs, you can find traces of it across retail stores up and down the country, encompassing everything from EPOS systems and granular data collection to inventory management and field sales solutions.
You’ll even find these clever pieces of tech peppered throughout our country’s supply chain, helping brands and retailers meet customer demands exactly where it’s needed – soothing marketing migraines from here to John o’Groats.
Talk about your tech going the extra mile.
So, why is there a need for technology in retail?
More, more, more.
It’s something consumers have grown pretty fond of. They’re craving bigger deals, better products, and more bang for their buck – so it only makes sense that the retail experience would rise up to the challenge.
Unsurprisingly, customer behaviour is directly affected by the amount of time people spend online. This digital connection has lit a fire directly under the e-commerce industry, fanning the flames into a multi-billion dollar sector that seems to have gone straight into orbit and is circling a not-so-distant moon somewhere.
As of last year, the number of digital buyers stood at 2.14 billion (that’s a whopping 27.6% of the world’s population) – signalling a retail tech trend that can, literally, be seen from space.
But how does this affect shops on terra firma?
Well, today’s consumers are now exhibiting shopping patterns dictated by their online habits, with contactless payments and swipe-happy commerce being one of the easiest ways to replicate the seamless interactive experience people enjoy online.
(Don’t worry, we’ll expand on this more in the next section).
Beyond this, technology can automate a number of practices that would usually take up precious minutes – which is almost criminal to the modern consumer – and there’s no better place to see this than in automatic checkouts or EPOS.
It doesn’t just smooth out the most crucial part of the user journey, the transaction, but provides ample opportunity for data collection, giving brands invaluable insights into their customer base.
Other processes such as inventory and even product forecasting can also use this data to make intelligent choices, helping brands get the most from every nook and cranny of their stockists.
Because who doesn’t love a good nosy?
What is the impact of technology on retailers?
Ah, the ‘future consumer.’
They might look like you and me, but they actually have x-ray vision and wear anti-gravity boots as a fashion statement.
Well, probably not. But it’s nice to dream!
In actual fact, future consumers have speed, safety, and efficiency on their minds.
This is handy, as revolutionary technology helps retailers of all scales and sizes stay in tip-top shape, often falling into the following categories: price, convenience, size, and speed.
We’ve already seen the impact of these demands across shops, internal processes, and marketing meetings, with these tools implementing new strategies across pricing, packing, and even inventory.
Customer tracking and auditing are also worlds easier than the surveys of old, helping brands tap into previously unseen opportunities and improve the shopping experience overall.
Whether that’s by ensuring the right products are available at the right time or nipping product shortages in the bud, technology and data collection can make light work of previously huge tasks.
This also includes technological insight for retailers and brands who are just starting out.
Tech can help provide clarity on planning and strategic decisions, with data-collection and collation streamlining crucial brand assets like marketing, pricing, stockage, design, and more.
So what’s currently making waves in the wonderful world of retail?
When it comes to brands looking to make a big statement with their customers, technology provides a wealth of almost fantastical solutions.
Although some have already become part of our bread-and-butter experiences (contactless checkout, anyone?) a number of eye-catching solutions are also waiting for their moment in the spotlight.
- Delivery Robots for greeting, delivering and helping customers with their shopping
- Mobile EPOS
- Digital Loyalty Apps
- IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ – or understanding your customers on a granular level through data
- Virtual Reality
While some of these seem very close to our reality in the present, we’re sure that it’s only a matter of time until we see Robo Robbie helping your little one reach the top shelf.
So, how does smart retail technology improve retail then?
No marketer, brand, or retailer worth their salt jumps headfirst into a digital transformation strategy without doing a bit of digging first.
Whether you’re hoping to pinpoint a particular problem that’s sinking sales or need to do a deeper audit, technology can shave months off an in-depth overhaul.
Why? Because you don’t go around saying something’s smart without meaning it.
(Apart from that one time your Mum did it when you were seven to spare your feelings. You can’t always be a winner.)
In a nutshell, smart retailing pulls together lots of different avenues of technology to give brands the power to track and action their customer’s feedback quickly and effectively, helping you make stand-out changes that will have them coming back for more.
It’s all getting more while doing less*.
*That is to say, making whizz-kid decisions based on proven data and actionable insights, rather than trialling strategies and seeing what sticks. When it works, it works.
Don’t believe us? Take a glimpse into the future and see how Reapp’s smart solutions have made light work of heavy problems by reading our case studies.
We can help you too.
OK – but how do technological advancements create value that lasts?
Let’s be honest, we all know a fad when we see one.
Purple ketchup, crystal clear cola, and cajun squirrel crisps are all products that have delicious potential for a brand or business owner – but you really need to pin down what works and implement it fast.
After all, true value goes beyond price points. It encompasses every inch of the customer service journey, from their in-store experience to product availability and a seamless transaction to top it off.
Some of the benefits that implementing smart retail technology in your processes include:
Efficiency and speed
Some of the brilliance of digital solutions – especially when they are used within brick-and-mortar retail locations – is their capacity for customisable assistance.
This translates into highly efficient retail locations that are able to harness shelf-edge data that provides constant updates as to what customers are doing, where they are shopping and what is interesting to them at any given time.
By analysing and collecting data, smart retail technologies can improve the overall efficiency of a sales and adaptation process, as well as the overall performance of a store.
Lighting-fast data makes for lightning-fast decisions. Who’d have thought it?
Top quality, top results
Using data and full access technology, brands now have the chance to spot and stop problems when they’re virtually undetectable. In some cases, even before they have a chance to develop.
This gives brands unmatched power when it comes to avoiding pitfalls and errors when rolling out a new product or adhering to planograms in store, ensuring that quality is maintained in stores up and down the country.
Better for you, better for the customer
Harnessing data correctly is a bit like having a crystal ball at your disposal. But instead of misty visions, you can accurate insights generated from shelf-fresh data, pulling on billions of priceless units that build a better picture of how your products are faring in store.
The future of retail is now, with data solutions and software designed to work in tandem with actionable field sales solutions, helping you predict customer behaviour, strategise the best course of action, and let your ground team get the job done.
How can Reapp provide amazing retail experiences?
All the tools you need, neatly packaged into one complete retail date solution – if you want it, we have it.
Our innovative technologies, bespoke software, and top-notch industry experience combine to create Reapp’s unique approach.
Because of this, we’re proud to have offered award-winning results to our clients in the past and present.
Doctor Who, who?
In addition to tracking shelf space and customer engagement, Reapp provides real-time actionable insights at the push of a button, which streamlines output when time’s a-ticking.
By simplifying complex actions with our software solutions, the unseen can now be seen, thanks to rich, quality-driven data tracking from a wealth of tried and tested sources.
Harness billions of units right at your fingertips, with each one analysed and monitored in real-time, allowing you to locate and fix problems as soon as they arise without so much as breaking a sweat.
Log on and see all with a bespoke performance dashboard, where you can action and amend operations with a simple glance and tap.
Our agile boards make it easy to ask a question, such as ‘Which product is doing well?’ – and hey presto, you’re taken straight to that particular report with no muss, no fuss and zero guff.
We think it’s the perfect combination of efficiency, simplicity, and effectiveness.
A bit like mango chutney and poppadoms.
But don’t take our word for it. Get in touch to find out more about how Reapp can help you – or, see for yourself by booking a demo today.