This article is part of Raydiant’s Re-opening of Brick and Mortar series which aims to provide insights, ideas, and resources to business owners and executives to get advice on what retail technologies are flourishing and could help them thrive when re-opening their stores.
We’ve collaborated with different executives, business owners, and thought leaders to crowdsource insights and expertise that will ensure this content is timely and helpful as possible.
Victoria Peppiatt, co-founder and COO of Phrasee
Technology will be the deciding factor in the brands that come out as the winners in this crisis. Brick and mortar stores will not be able to rest on their laurels and instead will need to look towards the digital-first for inspiration.
I would recommend they focus on building a strong e-commerce infrastructure as well as creating the digital strategies that will allow them to react quickly to future changes and protect them in the long run.
Neil Saunders, Managing Director, Retail at Global Data
There will be a lot more automation as retailers look to save money and reduce their reliance on humans.
Things like micro-fulfillment operations in stores to service online demand will become more common. Robots doing tasks like cleaning may also be favored by retailers. Contactless technologies like mobile payments at registers will be demanded and used more by consumers.
Lynn Xu, Chief of Retail Solution, Clobotics
Technologies that can digitize brick and mortar stores, that can make brands, retailers and consumers “see” the store in real time will fly.
Real-time vision of the brick and mortar store enables brands and retailers to take immediate action, therefore providing an optimal shopping experience to their consumers.
Debbie Hauss, Executive Director of Content, Retail TouchPoints
In addition to contactless payment technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to play a more important role in dissecting shopper data to help retailers and brands present more personalized communications, marketing, and promotions.
As the economy struggles to recover, more companies will likely offer solutions that provide interest-free staggered payments for larger purchases.
Virtual Reality (VR) also could play a bigger role in consumers’ online shopping experience, as a way to provide an almost store-like experience from shoppers’ homes.
Ronen Luzon, Founder of MySizeID
Six months from now retailers should be equipped with the proper tools and technology for shoppers to pre-order their items, giving associates an opportunity to set aside the right items in order to minimize the need for close interaction, or use of shared spaces, when the customer arrives. Customers will continue to look for retailers that understand their shoppers’ needs and make the proper accommodations to maintain social distancing. Whether it is six months or a year from now, customers will have an expectation moving forward that retailers will continue to meet their e-commerce needs and implement the necessary tools that enhance the online customer experience.
Cami Zimmer, Chief Business Officer at Glympse
We are hearing how smart lockers and mobile smart lockers will be used more for customer pick-up instead of the costs of delivery to various places. We are also reading more and more about trunk delivery of groceries and packages – even food! – where the goods are parked at work or at a home and the delivery is placed securely in the trunk. Drones are being used more and more to get packages from fulfillment centers to delivery vehicles for what I call that last yard delivery.
Only time will tell which of these innovations will prevail, but one thing is certain – the demand will only rise – and rise much quicker now, thanks in part to this epidemic.
Sarah Assous, CMO of Zoovu
It’s important to recognize consumer usage of e-commerce hit 2022 projections within the first 2 months of the global pandemic. Retailers had to quickly pivot to meet the increasing demand and need for straight forward paths to purchase on e-commerce channels, whether it was adopting click and collect capabilities to building an e-commerce site for the first time. There are a handful of retail technologies that will continue to see adoption accelerated due to COVID-19. Conversational search platforms such as digital assistants and product selectors will be vital to helping consumers find what they are looking for based on their needs and wants. We will see QR codes used to bridge the gap between offline and online search experiences to speed up the in-store decision-making process. Lastly, email marketing has seen an incredible resurgence: email open rates are increasing and we will start to see technology solutions create engaging experiences with dynamic email content. While the cause for the acceleration of e-commerce adoption is not what we anyone could have anticipated or predicted, it is exciting to see how retailers are rising to the challenge to ensure their customers can continue to find what they are looking for.
Julie Bula, CFO and Co-Founder at Sweft LLC
Retailers will be forced to implement technologies to maintain the new “rules of engagement” in stores as well as compete effectively online. Options that support online selling by allowing teams to work together from anywhere to launch products faster with better content will be necessary. These technologies will need to provide optimized solutions to product workflow, studio, copy, and sample management as well as website functionality, stability, and customer service. Ideally, a workflow management solution will be end-to-end, but may be multiple point solutions. Without technology to streamline these processes retailers will struggle to keep up with competition from Amazon.
Imogen Wethered, CEO and founder of Qudini
We are seeing strong demand for queuing systems and appointment scheduling software that allow retailers to enable social distancing for customers wanting to enter their stores.
In fact, we’ve had many retailers coming to us saying they wouldn’t reopen their stores without the software in place.
Charu Thomas, Founder at Oculogx
Wearable technology, AI, augmented reality, cloud-based technology, micro-fulfillment and more will all see accelerated adoption.
Anything that can help retailers’ digital strategy quickly will be prioritized.
Joshua Williams, Founding President of Fashion Consort and Assistant Professor of Fashion Management, Parsons School of Design
Already there is a major shift towards digital showrooms, 3D shopping environments and even digital fashion.
Great examples of this in the fashion space include ByondXR and Fabrikant.