New innovations in technology will transform retail in 2017. With trends leaning toward increased convenience and mobility, consumer expectations for a seamless retail experience—both on- and offline—are higher than ever.
Want to capitalize on a flurry of new, sales-boosting opportunities this year? Prepare accordingly.
The Unstoppable Rise of Mobile Commerce
Both online and in-store, mobile technology is now an essential element of the customer purchasing journey.
In fact, 198.5 million people in the U.S. own a smartphone, and 80% have used a smartphone while in-store to research a product, compare prices, or locate an alternative store.
Although desktop and in-store purchases still outnumber mobile orders, this is fast changing. More consumers turn mobile to buy the things they need. This growing trend offers retailers an invaluable opportunity to create personalized customer experiences and have one-on-one conversation with customers—anytime, anywhere.
Hands-Free Experience of Paying On the Go
Not only are consumers more mobile, they’re becoming increasingly hands-free. From Hands-Free with Google to ordering your Starbucks latte via voice command, the rise of near field communication (NFC) technology looks set to change the way we shop in 2017.
Most major mobile players have their own “mobile wallet” offering—like Apple Pay or Android Pay. Faster and more convenient, these payment methods are gaining popularity, particularly among millennials.
In 2017, consumers will expect their purchase experience to be near-instant and seamless—NFC technology can deliver this.
Invisible Point of Sale
As mobile tech continues to evolve at breakneck speed, in 2017 we may see the elimination of physical point of sale altogether. Thanks to a mix of NFC and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, consumers will no longer need to touch their phones to make a purchase.
As usual, retail giant Amazon is leading the way, opening their first convenience store in Seattle before the close of 2016. This is no ordinary store. There are no checkouts, no cashiers, and (this is the big one) no lines. Customers simply walk into the store, pick up what they want, and walk out.
As the customer passes a “transition area,” beacons sense what items the customer is carrying, automatically tallies up the cost, and charges the customer’s Amazon account.
An Elevated Retail Experience
All of this tech innovation is combining toward one future: a more convenient and personalized shopping experience. As much as customers want an effortless retail experience, they want their shopping experience to be emotional and entertaining too.
According to Google research, consumers rely on mobile more than ever. They execute more searches on mobile than on desktop, and 28% of mobile searches aimed at finding something nearby result in a purchase.
The ability to link online with in-store is increasingly allowing retailers to create an immersive brand experience. Smart marketers can leverage technology—such as interactive screens and RFID, plus rich data on customer’s past brand interactions—to create a personalized shopping experience. This allows retailers to target consumers with engaging and relevant messages directly on mobile and in-store.
Tech-Ready for 2017
As new technology transforms retail, expectations of a fast, effortless, and personalized shopping experience will continue to rise. Retailers should act now to prepare for this retail revolution.
The first step is to streamline merchant services and strengthen security. With the incredible opportunities to galvanize sales, mobile technology comes with hazards. Data fraud and network hacks can put businesses and customer data at risk. By setting up secure network security and simplifying merchant services, retailers can offer a diverse range of payment offerings while reducing threats.
We’re here to help you do this. From comprehensive POS systems to robust network security, we have the retail IT expertise to make your merchant services tech-ready for 2017. Learn more about our retail IT services and contact us today.