Vasanth Kamatgi is the (CTO) Chief Technical Officer at Ferns N Petals and has been spearheading Technology at Ferns n Petals since 2015. He comes with a broad expertise in IT, enterprise architecture / infrastructure design, full project life cycle management, product development and cloud computing. With a powerful blend of technology-knowledge, vision, and business acumen, he has consistently enabled strong business growth via cost-effective, reliable, high-performance IT infrastructures and applications.
The advent of new-age technologies is changing the way of doing business to enhance efficiency, cut operational costs, and provide quality products and services to consumers. It has become inevitable for everyone to use technology to better serve today’s tech-savvy generation of customers. Every sector is adopting these technologies to their advantage swiftly and the retail segment is not behind in embracing them. Retailers are not only bringing technology into practice but also updating them with the latest features to create an immersive retail experience to encourage customers to go for more. These technologies are leading the path of growth of the retail sector.
Personalisation plays a crucial role in the smooth functioning and evolution of the retail sector. Everyday businesses are flooded with a humongous amount of data that are emerging as key drivers to provide the consumers services with a personalised experience. If collected, stored and analysed well, these data have the potential to bring unprecedented success to the sector. The consumer data can be utilised to create shopping profiles for every group of customers of similar choices and preferences to guide their shopping journey. Data analysis empowers them with the understanding of valuable information about consumer behavior, their needs, budget category and others. Now retailers can predict the future demand by analyzing buyers’ attitudes and tendencies from the past. This kind of predictive calculation helps retailers in improving efficiency and reducing costs.
Personalisation and information help consumers in making quick and better-purchasing decisions. They are not willing to ruin time in going through product listings they don’t require. They want to reach the exact product without wasting time. The Internet of Things (IoT) with the support of volumes of data available today is helping the players transform the retail space and shopping experience. Sensor-enabled devices such as beacons are fueling this shift in the business of retail stores. These appliances help retailers know how long customers are in the stores and what they choose. Besides, personalised discounts, mapping stores, tracking inventory are some great offerings of these smart gadgets.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the others in line which are leading the change in the retail sector. AR is completely modifying the shopping experience of consumers while VR is helping owners upgrade their services. AI is giving customers freedom from visiting stores for trials of clothes or testing other products. They can now virtually check every product with a feeling of real-life experience. On the other hand, VR is helping to improve the business side of the store. It facilitates the visualization and redesigning of the space through various layouts and is helping to develop the best convenient and attractive store as per the preference of consumers. In future, the extended reality will enable buyers to share their experiences with others as well.
Recommendation engines are another effective devices for retailers to augment sales. The equipment helps shoppers discover things they never knew they needed and remind them of the same at the relevant times of shopping. These engines are getting better with time. With more data to evaluate a customer’s shopping behaviour comes better recommendations that save precious time of buyers. Dealers benefit from elevated cart sales and enriched customer satisfaction.
Another tech trend transforming the retail sector is robotic assistants at stores and warehouses. Robots can help consumers locate the product they are searching for and answer questions as well. They can even inform customers about special offers, coupons and products through email. At a time when consumers are preferring the store equipped with contactless services due to the pandemic, robotic or automated services are picking up pace. Staff-free stores are the most preferred location now. In future, customers will be able to get all the information about the product by scanning codes through mobile. On the other hand, these machines help owners manage stores and warehouses efficiently. Smart robots keep data in check that assists in managing stock, making predictions, reducing waste, spoilage and boosting security.
Voice activation AI is an astounding technological invention that is changing the buying and selling experience. With the rise in smart homes equipped with voice recognition technology, the trend is going to be extremely beneficial for retail space. Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri are frontrunners of the consumer voice assistant market and continuously improving themselves to better serve customers. Smart devices hear the consumer’s command and respond accordingly to help them find products or even make purchases. Voice assistants are even helpful for store employees; they can communicate and manage work across the space through voice-controlled wearable. Similarly, face recognition technology is helping retailers understand consumers and their choices better. Facial recognition tries to know about the customers’ attraction towards a particular product in the stores, determine buyer demographics, and even deter the threat of theft.
Cloud services have made business operations easy beyond imagination. Real-time inventory tracking, product availability, shipping details, and orders are all being managed through cloud computing efficiently and effectively. It can reduce operational costs significantly. Apart from that, digital marketing tools emerged as a great help to the sector. They increase brand reputation, help in generating data and leads, and establish a rapport with prospects and existing customers. Chatbots are another important tool to communicate with consumers, understand their requirements, seek feedback and improve accordingly.
As the Covid effect is dwindling and normalcy is coming back to life, the business environment will see a quantum jump when players from all sectors will implement the best technology available. With technical advancements, retail players can reap the benefits of the thriving economy while ensuring customers safety. It is vital for them to reinvent, reinvest and reimagine technology inclusion. The technological trends in the segment will lead its growth and with further advancements augment the same. There are other technologies in line to give the sector push such as drones. These technology trends will continue dominating the sector that will dominate the entire business and economic domains.