Consumers, merchants, and solutions providers that support the retail industry all recognize the rapid change that’s occurred in the space since 2020. As 2023 begins, however, the question is, “What’s next?”
These thought leaders share their insights on eight trends that ISVs and software companies need to track and consider as they develop their strategies for providing retail technology solutions that will deliver maximum value.
Immersive Retail Experiences
“Retailers are exploring virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create digital environments for their customers. Although few enterprises are ready to deploy those systems in the near future, they are finding ways to create immersive experiences today with interactive digital signage solutions. For example, a chocolatier can use digital signage to engage and entertain customers while employees create gift baskets or boxes from digital orders, and an apparel retailer can deploy smart fitting rooms that allow shoppers to try different styles or colors virtually. Look for more demand for retail technology that engages consumers digitally and bridges the gap between digital and physical interactions.” Tyler Wells, North American Sales Manager, MicroTouch
Apps Generated by Low-Code/No-Code Platforms
“Retailers will increasingly adopt low-code application development to deliver customer experiences that stand out amongst competitors. With fast, innovative digital experiences becoming all but synonymous with retailer success, the industry requires the development agility to respond to evolving customer needs, harness the latest technological capabilities, and polish experiences iteratively and continuously. Expect more retailers to look to low-code to accelerate application delivery – exponentially – over traditional development methods in 2023 while empowering their developers to tap into AI, VR, and other innovations without needing to learn new skill sets.” Shomron Jacob, Head of AI, Iterate.ai
Solutions Focused on Loyalty and Lifetime Value
“E-commerce merchants will look for technology that aligns with two primary goals: increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) and driving up average order value (AOV). As a result, E-commerce brands will gravitate to solutions that build brand loyalty and long-term customer relationships while delivering convenient and flexible financing (increasing order value), such as a cardless digital revolving credit option. Traditional buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions don’t accommodate repeat purchases from a community of customers over a lifetime. Instead, they provide short-term installment loans for individual purchases, which terminate the customer relationship when the loan is paid off. Digital revolving credit enables merchants to build customer relationships for life.” Tim Harris, CEO, FuturePay Holdings, Inc.
Changes to Data Capture and Analytics
“Data, Data Everywhere: As Google moves to phase out the longstanding workhorse of e-commerce analytics – Google Universal Analytics – companies will revisit their data capture and analytics solutions in 2023. The focus on efficiency, especially advertising targeting, continues to drive firms towards deploying first-party data capture systems and more robust in-house analytics.” Jacob Loveless, CEO, Edgemesh
Personalization and Customization
“With the increasing emphasis on customer experience and convenience, we have seen larger retailers enhance their data usage to create customized shopping experiences for their customers. Over the next year, this trend will likely become more widespread, with small and mid-sized retailers following suit as consumer data plays a more central role in retail technology. As a result, retailers will continue investing in automation and data technologies to deliver these customized consumer experiences.” Ansley Hoke, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing at ScanSource
“Personalization, long the secret sauce of top retail bands, will finally be moving down market towards mid-market companies. Smaller companies, including those on managed platforms like Shopify, are starting to embrace personalization techniques (and ML-based models) used by firms like Amazon. We expect to see more deployments of personalized search (built atop SaaS solutions like AWS Personalize), personalized coupons and offers, and a bevy of new dynamic-based content that looks to maximize every user interaction.” Jacob Loveless, CEO, Edgemesh
Edge Network Adoption
“Speed and embracing the edge: The hype over headless e-commerce may be waning, as companies have realized the cost of deploying bespoke sites, while edge network adoption will continue to grow in 2023. I expect to see more companies deploying edge network enhancements (dynamic caching, dynamic SEO rendering etc.) and edge-native solutions, including A/B testing and advanced tagless tracking, etc., to ensure their storefronts continue to be competitive in the world of site speed.” Jacob Loveless, CEO, Edgemesh
Further Proliferation of QR Codes
“The COVID-19 pandemic led to an explosion of e-commerce, and while it remains popular, more than half of shoppers still prefer in-store shopping. Once put on hold, offline marketing spending has kicked into overdrive. In 2023, it’s the QR code’s time to shine. The tech’s potential surpasses the popular restaurant menu use case. QR codes offer an inexpensive way to curate in-store experiences appreciated for their novelty, uniqueness and safety. While these codes don’t capture PII (personally identifiable information), they allow retailers to collect relevant first-party data for attracting, engaging and retaining customers.” Sharat Potharaju, CEO and Co-Founder, Beaconstac
Retailers Take E-Commerce Content to a New Level
“The connection between online research and in-person shopping means that, more than ever, product content is paramount – regardless of channel. Quality product content drives customer trust and loyalty. Retailers need high-quality product images and videos, product descriptions and customer reviews. To stand out, brands should also consider technology like VR/AR capabilities and 360-degree spin imagery.” Steve Sivitter, CEO, 1WorldSync
Monitoring these trends and supporting them with your solutions will help you position your clients and your business for success. How closely does your retail technology roadmap align with the industry’s direction?