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    March 7, 2022

    3 Retail Technology Trends to Watch

    Written by: Carla El Gawly

    As the consumer journey becomes increasingly omnichannel, brands and retailers around the world are leveraging the latest technology to bridge the gap between the online and brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

    Here are three retail technology trends to watch — and tips on how to adapt your strategy accordingly.

    1. "Just Walk Out" Technology

    In an effort to deliver increasingly seamless shopping experiences, brands and retailers are offering a variety of new and evolving payment options.

    Last year, Amazon introduced its first Amazon Fresh grocery store with Just Walk Out shopping. Powered by a combination of computer vision, deep learning, and sensor fusion, this technology enables shoppers to skip the checkout line. 

    After customers choose to leverage Just Walk Out shopping at the store’s entry gates, the offering connects to Amazon customers’ accounts or credit cards and automatically detects when items are added to their carts. Once they have all the items they need, shoppers simply scan their entry method again to exit the store.

    London has seen a dramatic expansion of this type of technology amongst smaller grocery stores in high-traffic areas. While Sainsbury's became the first international third-party customer to leverage Amazon’s Just Walk Out offering, Tesco instead looked to compete against the retail giant by launching their own technology at its GetGo store in Holborn.

    In today’s omnichannel marketplace, consumers are seeking increased flexibility when it comes to how they compare and purchase products. By offering new payment technologies that save customers valuable time and energy, you can attract valuable foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar locations.

    2. Augmented Reality (AR)

    According to Shopify data, interactions with products having 3D/AR content have a 94% higher conversion rate than those with products without 3D/AR.

    As more and more shoppers embrace the omnichannel shopping journey, brands and retailers are exploring new retail technology trends that involve leveraging AR to bring the benefits of in-store shopping to online channels (and vice versa).

    For instance, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror offering uses AR to enable shoppers to virtually try on 10 of the brand’s signature makeup looks. This technology encourages increased store interactions while eliminating the hygiene concerns and time constraints of physically trying on the beauty products.

    Many brands and retailers are also leveraging apps like Snap (formerly known as Snapchat) to introduce AR into their marketing strategies. For instance, telecoms provider O2 recently used Snap’s technology to create an ‘AR store of the future.’ The virtual shopping offering empowered users to browse three hero Samsung products via a custom lens experience — providing a “Shop Now” button to make a purchase.

    Whether you choose to leverage existing technology or create your own custom offering, introducing AR into your customer journey can attract new customers and drive meaningful conversions. Consider your target shopper’s pain points when perusing your products — and how AR technology can improve this experience.

    3. Livestream Shopping and Social Commerce

    China has long been a leader in the livestream shopping space, but this technology is becoming increasingly popular throughout the rest of the world.

    Walmart hosted Twitter’s first shoppable livestream last November for Cyber Week. The half-hour variety show, led by singer Jason Derulo, promoted product offerings in seasonal decor, apparel, home goods, and electronics — and featured surprise guest appearances.

    After introducing a series of shopping livestreams for the 2021 holiday season, YouTube has long-term plans to bring livestream shopping to all users.

    And with the hugely successful #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag being used over seven billion times, it’s no surprise that TikTok is also a major player in the social commerce ring. At the end of last year, TikTok aired the first ever U.K. shopping livestream.

    As consumers spend more time on their mobile devices than ever before, it’s increasingly critical for brands and retailers to consider social media as a key channel to drive conversions. Assess which platforms your target audience is using, and develop unique engagement strategies for each of these channels.

    For a little inspiration, consider the various retailers who have seen great success on TikTok through launching holiday-specific campaigns, fun user challenges, and trend-driven product bundles. 

    Incorporate The Latest Technology Trends Into Your Omnichannel Strategy

    With each introduced technology innovation comes exciting new opportunities to captivate and convert potential customers. By keeping an eye on the latest retail technology trends and adapting your go-to-market strategy accordingly, you can drive meaningful sales on the digital shelf and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

    For more insights on how leveraging the right technology empowers you to achieve omnichannel success, check out our recent podcast episode, “The Technology Strategy for a Digitally Resilient Organization.”