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What are the upcoming technology trends in retail?

13th October 2017

The rate of change in customer experience expectation appears to accelerate every year. A decade ago most customer service managers were overseeing a contact centre that processed voice calls and emails after the customer had made a purchase. Now, the customer experience needs to be managed across multiple channels on a far more complex customer journey that blends into the sales and marketing process.

Added to this increased complexity in business processes is a great deal of technological change, from the additional communication channels to the underlying customer database and CRM systems. Designing the processes needed to support your customers today can involve Big Data, Virtual Reality, and interactions online on dozens of networks and channels. It’s no longer just focused on answering the phone.

Retailers are facing a technological challenge. Online shopping is increasingly sophisticated and customers expect more help and advice in-store. Customers are increasingly developing a relationship with the brands they like that was unthinkable a decade ago. Imagine asking your local supermarket for ideas on how making a curry back then, yet today it’s entirely normal to send a tweet asking for recipe ideas and the supermarket brand will respond.

There are many retail trends that rely on technology, but I believe that the three broad areas where we will see change in the next 15 months – to the end of 2018 – can be summarised as:

Other changes, such as improved knowledge of the in-store location of a customer, will feed into these broad areas I mentioned, but I think that in the short term, these are the areas where we will see the most immediate change. In particular, bringing the online experience into the store and creating an improved omni-channel will probably be the biggest priority of all as there are clearly defined benefits for the customer experience and the brand – these customers spend more.

But what do you think? It’s easy to list a long list of technologies that will change retail in the next couple of years, but what would you list as the top three that will make a change by the end of 2018? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or get in touch on LinkedIn.

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David Turner
Article by: David Turner

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