At Worldlink, we strive to stay ahead of the latest retail technology trends in order to understand where the market is going, and how we can continue to create additional value for our clients. As a part of these efforts, our management team attended the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show,” the country’s largest conference in this space. From robotics to new POS integrations, we were exposed to thousands of ideas that seem to be in the mix for 2019.
Here are four takeaways:
Focus On The Customer Experience
The first observation we had while participating in NRF 2019 was public sentiment. As we got the chance to converse with other industry experts, there seemed to be a consensus on the main focus of retail moving forward: An emphasis on the customer experience. This is a great thing, as it means innovation will be driven by the consumer. So often, we see technology grow in directions that do not necessarily have a real-world application. To see growth being fueled by experience means that there will be more practical, useful tech to hit the sales floor in the near future.
Retailers Are Behind
Though technology seems to be moving in the right direction, it is also shedding light on just how ill-equipped many retailers are to mobilize and deploy such innovations. According to a recent survey from retail management consulting firm BRP, only 57% of current brick and mortar stores reported having WiFi in place. As Brett Busconi, our Vice President of Sales mentioned, “This is not a great thing… Infrastructure needs to be sound. All of the big booths with the expensive ideas do not translate into increased Customer Experience if the stores are not set up to support the associated technology.”
Emphasis On Mobile POS
Many exhibitors presented on the idea of a mobile shopping experience for store visitors. Instead of having to check out at a designated spot, the trend is moving towards having store employees interacting with potential customers out on the floor. This integration not only creates a better retail experience, but it also leads to higher conversion rates as it cuts down on checkout wait times and takes a more proactive approach to sales.
Expansion Self-Checkout and Self Service
Connected to the benefits of Mobile POS, is the intermediary stage of expanding opportunities for self-checkout and self-service at stores. By allowing the customer additional freedoms during his/her shopping experience, we create a smoother overall sales cycle. Transactions are sped up, and overhead costs are cut down. Because there is less need for a teller at checkout, businesses can use the added savings to improve margins or better compete on price.
There you have it. These four retail technology trends may be here to stay. If you would like to connect with us regarding improving your IT infrastructure in order to deploy some of the ideas in this article, we encourage you to utilize our Calendly scheduler that is in the upper right-hand corner of this page.