December 31, 2017
The way people shop has evolved dramatically over the last decade. Retailers and manufacturers not only need to produce great products at the right price points, but need to create desirable experiences for their customers. The type of the experience depends on the nature of the product and the consumer.
Consumers becoming accustomed to conveniences offered by modern technologies will only become more demanding. The retail industry historically has not reacted well to disruption. In order to survive, retailers will need to invest in experience shaping technologies that will make them better equipped to service tomorrow’s consumer.
Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
When people think of chatbots they tend to think of annoying pop-ups that they quickly minimize. However, with advancements in artificial intelligence, chatbots are proving to be more conducive and efficient for customer service. While shopping online, chatbots can assist with quickly locating a product or signing up for a service. Over the next few years, chatbots will be game changing for mobile shopping. With the majority of the world’s consumers purchasing goods and services on smartphones, any advancements in convenience and user experience will build brand loyalty globally.
Chatbots also help in the traditional retail environment. Customer service and salespeople can utilize them to quickly call up product information or customer data. While chatbots will reduce the number of customer service roles in the economy, they will also work collaboratively with customer service professionals to make their jobs easier and create a better customer experience.
A digital wallet allows a consumer to make a purchase using an electronic device. Incorporation of digital payment is a factor in creating omni- channels or “all channels” that provide consumers with various options for payment and delivery. Starbucks mastered the digital wallet option by allowing customers to link their credit cards to their mobile app. A Starbucks customer can order their drink and pay ahead of time using a digital wallet so their beverage is ready when they walk in. Allowing for multiple ways to pay, especially in ways that allow customers to obtain rewards, will be imperative for optimizing the retail experience.
Retail is a dynamic industry that changes with technology, consumer tastes and the global economy. As each generation gains buying power, different factors will influence the industry. Today, predominant factors include technology driven experiences.