The retail industry in the year 2018 witnessed many major trends and evolutions. With the rise in technological advancements, the need for retailers to adapt and adopt these developments also gained momentum. Customers prefer convenient and smart shopping experiences, thus urging retailers to provide high-value products and improve the standard of living.
E-Commerce – Trends and Opportunities
The rise in E-Commerce is evolving the way the retail industry performed over the years. E-Commerce assisted firms in generating high volumes of sales, as companies were able to target customers outside their geographical reach. In 2018, E-Commerce sales amounted to $2.8 trillion worldwide and will continue to rise to $4.8 trillion by the year 2021. Business owners are now relying on technology to improve the value provided to customers and gain a competitive standing in the highly dynamic and the over-saturated business environment.
According to a recent market survey, personalization is currently one of the most popular trends present in the market. Statistically, 1 out of every three shoppers considers personalized products as a significant influence in conducting purchase decisions.
The inclusion of technology in retail practices has gained a lot of popularity over the years. According to research, companies using Artificial Intelligence will witness a rise of 60 percent in the profits by 2035. Technology will also help firms in generating and providing high valued products and services to their customers. Artificial Intelligence is currently the 2nd most popular trend in the market. According to market experts, Artificial Intelligence if appropriately utilized can assist firms in increasing customer interactions by over 90 percent. Artificial Intelligence will also increase web traffic by 45 percent, profitability by 35 percent and in-store traffic by 50 percent. The technological developments via Artificial Intelligence will assist retailers in improving the reliability of the business apps offered by them. Artificial Intelligence will also help firms in the optimal introduction of voice technology which will improve online penetration.
Virtual and Augmented reality market is worth over $27 billion and will continue to rise over $209 billion by 2021. According to research, the latest technological developments will increase customer engagement by upgrading digital space and receiving real-time feedback. Technological advancements will also enhance customer experience, boost innovation and alter products and services to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality will enable firms in reducing dependence on human labour thus decreasing human errors.
A significant trend that is gaining popularity in the market is the availability of multiple channels for conducting purchases. Omnichannel retailing has not only generated convenience but has also provided helped retailers reach out to different consumer segments easily. Some of the most preferred methods of shopping in the market include click online and collect at store function, cash on delivery, online payment and shopping at a physical outlet. Studies have shown that companies incorporating omnichannel retailing strategies in their business plan are most likely to succeed as more than 60 percent of the shoppers prefer to use both online and offline channels for purchasing products.
Customers in this time and age are very empowered and knowledgeable and continuously rely on technology for their day to day practices. Despite concerns such as safety and security of data, the high cost of acquisition and complexity of incorporating, it is seen that the trend of technology is rising and will continue to do so in the future.
And lastly, the market is being made aware of corporate sustainable and green practices. Reports have revealed that from the year 2017, customer searches for sustainable products and services have grown by over 45 percent.
These trends and advancements have caused the retail industry to evolve and also improved the quality of products and services provided by producers to enhance the customers standard of living.
Written By: Rajiv Prasad