Dara Meath, Vice President - Information Technology, The Camuto Group
Today Ecommerce has gone beyond the tradition of buying goods online without purpose. Merchants have to master how consumers shopping online by presenting the same visual dynamic, personal experience and simplicity of being in-store. As brick and mortar turns to new concepts/partnerships to embrace the required revolution, technology looks to be the key driver in making these ideas a reality.
In a 2017 survey by Ecommerce Trend, 50 percent of Millennials prefer shopping at a physical location at some point in the buying journey. This is a critical indicator that retail changes to improve customer focus are making an influence on generations to come. With the other 50 percent still finding other outlets to shop like a computer and mobile device, retails must continue to build upon these sources to draw in shoppers.
So what are the some of the technologies retailers are exploring?
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are newer to the retails space and will take significant leaps in 2018 as it increases revenue and decreases returns for commerce.
A Deloitte research report in 2017 on Augmented Reality showed that over 150 companies had already adopted the AR/VR solution – including 52 of the Fortune 500. The ABI Research expect the AR Enterprise application market to ‘hit an inflection point’ in 2018, with the shipment of ‘smart glasses’ increasing at a CAGR of 227 percent by 2021. Organizations roll out features that allow customers to use their mobile devices to visualize items in depth in all shapes and sizes satisfying confident with their purchase. With AR Ads estimated around 14 billion this year, companies examine additional breakthroughs in AR with AI and smart logic like directional speakers and wireless to boost sales.
Artificial Intelligence gathers real-time clicks using an AI engine to show recommendations to consumers.
Retails can gather real-time behavioral data with AI to understand consumers’ needs at a deeper level, and more accurately forecast the goods they are most likely to buy
The AI Engine + Machine Learning enables data-based decisions and grows smarter over time, companies no longer need to rely on demographic data that is largely assumption-based and provides a limited picture of your customer. Conversational AI allows consumers will speak to devices and use their voice to interact with retails to gathering product knowledge and order goods. Retails can gather real-time behavioral data with AI to understand consumers’ needs at a deeper level, and more accurately forecast the goods they are most likely to buy.
Ecommerce mobile checkout will become the ease that no customer will want to do without and that no merchant can afford to not invest in. The lift in transactions completed on mobile device using fingerprint and facial recognition will more than double some company’s user base. Other companies are starting to feature a cashier-free environment throughout the world. This continued initiative of a 1- stop payment method instore or online will drive sales to continue customer satisfaction.
With the investment in P2P and PSD2, consumers and customers are looking at banking very differently in 2018. The revised Payment Service Directive will change how banking controls customer’s account information and payment services. This will enable bank customers to use third-party providers to help manage their finances. This will be a challenge for banks as they look to build interfaces to support the initiate, but it continues to open up doors on how retails looks at checkout. The simplicity of shopping anywhere with a push of a button for check out will continue to push the bounties of the company and banking industry.
Popup shops are a great solution to blend the in-person experience while processing the client order online. At The Camuto Group, we have a selection of brick and mortar stores but have found success in taking over a location or joining in on an event which maps out a small sq/ft for display only shopping. These ‘Popup’ locations are a benefit to the client as well as the retailer. The team is able to fulfill a client’s needs by focusing on service and an enhanced client experience with the convenience of the goods sent right to their end destination.
The company benefits from the brand exposure and all of the analytical data that surrounds the experience. The team gathers the details and begins to compare client similarities and difference of the online shopper vs. in-store. This knowledge gives the merchant insight into what clients are purchasing and how they can expand on their popular items. Key indicators into these are: product preferences, featured items, exclusions, sizing, and etcetera.
Weather a company is looking to build on analytics, drive their visuals tools to enhance display, streamline their site to allow for simplified shopping experience or all of the above; winning companies in retail, will be those that embrace technology change. The pairing of knowledge and the right resources are the backbone of technology which go into providing those experiences and become the winning ticket for the future.