Each year, technology continues to grow and revolutionize the retail industry. With ecommerce constantly evolving, new in-store gadgets coming out to help transactions go faster and more smoothly, and data becoming more crucial to personalizing the customer experience, retailers need to stay alert on the latest trends to keep business booming.
Independent Retailer spoke with multiple experts in the industry to find the hottest technology trends in 2022 for indie retailers to keep an eye out for:
Human Behavior Analytics for Physical Locations
“Real-time human behavior analytics for physical locations is paramount for the future of retail,” George Shaw, CEO and founder of Pathr.ai, said. “Online vendors are able to understand the entire customer journey on their site. Brick-and-mortar companies are not able to easily track their customer’s journey in their store. With growing online sales and the climbing number of digital buyers, it is more important than ever that brick-and-mortar companies actively study buyer behavior to remain competitive, prevent fraud, and understand how their customers interact in physical spaces. Many companies already monitor their locations for security and safety reasons, but are unable to leverage this data for anything else.”
The Growth & Future of Mobile Payments
There has been significant growth in mobile payments in recent years, with fewer consumers carrying cash. Now, as many as five in six payments involve no notes or coins, according to Cadoo. Especially in part due to the pandemic, the share of mobile ecommerce sales has climbed by 39 percent, from 52 percent in 2016 to 72 percent now. In-store mobile payments usage grew 29 percent last year in the U.S., and the global mobile payments market has reached a value of $1.4 billion. As far as trends go, there is nothing to suggest that mobile commerce development will slow anytime soon.
Social Media Platforms Become the New QVC for Millennials and Gen Z
“Influencers are the new storefront, but social commerce is no longer just about adding a shopping cart on a platform,” Pierre-Loic, CEO and founder of Traackr, said. “It will not be just a transaction, but instead will become an entire shopping experience. We already saw Amazon, YouTube, and Pinterest add live shopping features to their platforms, and the most advanced brands will invest more budget and resources toward creating authentic retail experiences on social media, such as live streaming.”
Sustainability Gets Woven Throughout Ecommerce Operations
Environmental and eco-friendly awareness are top of mind as consumers look to practice mindful consumerism in the year ahead and look for brands that prioritize sustainability, according to experts from Avensia. Brands must weave sustainability throughout their ecommerce operations, from how they plan their supply chain to the information they provide on their websites, to demonstrate their commitment. Brands will leverage small changes that can have a big impact, such as changing packaging to reduce bulk/weight and reduce truck rolls and leveraging ship from stores to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
AR and VR Will See Massive Growth in Ecommerce
“As businesses like Facebook are making strategic shifts to the Metaverse, we will see the adoption of AR/VR in ecommerce accelerate,” Laura Haines, Chief Product Officer at Famous, said. “Expect massive growth in this area, including things such as AR glasses for Instagram shopping and businesses supporting users to create a greater personal identity in VR.”
Fixed Wireless is the Next Big Thing
Cell phones have historically operated on low-band signal, but as 5G proliferates, 2022 will see a huge rollout of mid-band signal, according to Bruce Lancaster, CEO of Wilson Electronics. Carriers have been making major investments in mid-band technology for one particular use case: fixed wireless replacement. The ability to access the internet at your business through only a wireless connection will be made possible with mid-band technology, and will benefit customers with faster speeds at low costs as carriers scramble to compete on price.
Expect More Change in Customer Behavior
“Consumer behaviors will continue to shift significantly, creating more measurement and marketing challenges for brands. Old predictive models and approaches will no longer provide accurate guidance as marketers scramble to fill the measurement void created by privacy changes,” Matt Voda, CEO of OptiMine, said.
The Ability to Buy Goods the Non-Traditional Way
Over the next year, the proliferation of new digital channels will cause a fragmentation among shoppers – often along generational lines – that will increasingly demand a more flexible and hyper scalable approach from retailers, according to Mark Hook, Global Director of Brand, PR, and Communications at Brightpearl. The Hyper Scalable Era is a new view of retail that recognizes that retailers need to change their mindset by building flexibility and scalability into every part of their business from operational processes to technology platforms. The increasingly multi-channel complexity of the modern ecommerce operation will force more retailers to reconsider how they best utilize the technology and systems that power their business.
Continued Concern Over Data Privacy
“We will continue to see a greater focus on data privacy, driven by regulations as well as changes by Apple and Android that give consumers greater transparency and control over the personal information they share with companies,” Thomas Butta, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Airship, said. “Third-party data, which details a user’s activities across unrelated websites and apps, is on the way out, which means it will become more difficult to target highly relevant audiences using information from ad networks.”