Stats Show How Tech is Disrupting In-Store & Online Shopping
STATISTICS - SHOPPING - ONLINE
Published On: September 22, 2021
Technology has disrupted every business sector and now there is no industry completely immune to it.
But disruptions are not always pleasing, are they?
Like many disruptions, digital retail technology experienced a shaky start. A plethora of retailers in the 1990s, including Amazon.com, Books.com, Pets.com, and so on, embraced eCommerce. Of course, they created hype in the market, but later some ill-conceived strategies, risky experiments, and the economy is slowed down unexpectedly resulted in a major collapse, wiping most of the eCommerce retailers.
Today, however, the tables are turned. Amazon bags around 40% of all US eCommerce sales. The US sales of this eCommerce giant will increase by 15.3% this year, which sums up to over $3.6 billion.
The number of customers at Wayfair, as of March 31, 2021, has reached 33.2 million, which is an increase of 57.3%. The company has generated around $15.3 billion in net revenue in the same period.
What we have witnessed yet is just a start. The time is not far when it will be extremely difficult even to measure e-commerce.
1. How technology impacts on In-Store shopping
From personalizing the customer experience to offering unique in-store promotions and shaping the way how technology helps us to shop online and offline, retailers and merchants must be aware of the new technology trends that are reforming the retail experience at present. So how has technology changed the shopping process? We will discuss it below.
2. Leveraging Both Online and Offline Customer Channels
When it is about customer convenience, online stores and apps are helping brick-and-mortar retailers to stay in competition with e-retailers. Technology is being utilized by supermarkets and retail chains around the world.
Brands including Starbucks have been making the most of online channels. Interestingly, 24.61% of all the revenue generated within the US in 2021 by Starbucks is through mobile. The retailer has launched an app designed to reduce customer wait times while enhancing the customer experience. Giving a good experience to customers with lesser wait times will be helping Starbucks' stores to retain the customers and bring them back over and over again.
Using technology in the form of apps and online channels, brick and mortar stores can:
- Personalize customer experience using data,
- Improve convenience,
- Promote discounts, loyalty programs as well as other brand features
- Leverage additional channels to bring in sales and ensure remarkable customer experiences.
Retailers can drive omnichannel retail benefits not just for the consumers but for the retailers themselves too. The stores can use digital signage to feature the social channels. In the meantime, the online social platforms can bring in new customers to the outlets for an on-location experience. Technology has transformed shopping processes in stores and will continue to do so in the fire.
3. Real-Time Promotions in Brick and Mortar Stores
How is the technology used in supermarkets? It’s almost ubiquitous at this point. Most of the customers consider rates as the main determinant of where they shop and how. Product prices are actually the main factor in the shopping habits of customers, even surpassing customer convenience and product availability.
52% of buyers prefer to receive pop-up notifications and alerts on their mobile as they enter an outlet. If retailers will promote that customers will be earning exclusive discounts available only for the customers who will shop at the outlet in person, the footfall at the stores will increase.
4. Capitalizing on Digital Resources to Educate Customers About Products and Services
Deloitte (p.4) elucidates the way digital tools are being used by customers and how they are affecting the buying decision of the customers. Technology not only helps customers buy, but it also helps retailers know what to market.
Using in-store digital resources, retailers can control what their customers see and read. Retailers can use price comparison websites to show their customers that they are offering the best value.
81% of buyers research online before they make a purchase decision. (Source: GE Capital Retail Bank). Considering this, retailers can use digital resources to provide their customers with detailed information regarding the specific products so that the potential customers do not have to go anywhere to look for that information. These digital in-store resources can empower retailers, helping them grab customers' attention.
5. How technology impacts on Online shopping
Now that we know technological disruption in the retail industry is going to stay, let’s dive into its impact on the industry to see how technology has changed the shopping process?
Data has been serving as a valuable asset for retailers to boost sales and increase revenue. No wonder, international retail sales are expected to reach $30 trillion by the year 2023.
According to Forbes research conducted in 2019, Starbucks has boasted a 26% increase of its total sales within just three years, from 2016 to 2019, all thanks to Big data. The company leverages the data to assess buying behavior, demographics, customer trends, and so on to anticipate the future success of its new outlets inaugurated in different cities of the globe.
With the pandemic lurking around and threatening health, social distancing is going to stay in order to safeguard public health. How the technology has changed the way we shop during this period is intriguing. It allowed the retailers to get the best out of cashiers and staff-free stores, creating an entirely new experience. As stated by a survey conducted by Shekel Brainweigh Ltd, consumers have undergone some visible shifts when it comes to shopping during the COVID-19 period. As per the findings, 87% of consumers are more likely to purchase from stores offering contactless or self-checkout features.
Retailers need to use technology including computer vision systems, facial recognition, IoT devices, RFID tags to fulfill this need of their customers. Since Amazon has always been at the forefront of using new technology for its store, it also launched its Just Walk Out system that was based on its Amazon Go Grocery model. It used sensor fusion, computer vision as well as deep learning that helped the retailer track the products retailers are adding to their cart, and when the customers are done shopping, the stores will get payments via customers' credit cards.
According to Gartner, augmented reality will increase to 100 million consumers by 2020 and that's what happened. The customer conversion rate in 2020 for all the AR engaged users boosted by around 9%. Considering the retail industry, one cannot overlook the potential of AR within this year as well as many to come.
Due to the current pandemic, many retailers experienced huge losses in sales, but some, including Sephora, witnessed huge gains in 2020 all thanks to the AR. The brand allowed its customers to try on the products through their phones by launching virtual fitting rooms. Retailers including Etsy and Kendra Scott, and Etsy also got their feet wet with the technology and virtual fitting rooms and increased their sales.
Technologies like AI and NLP are being more advanced this year. When it comes to the consumer voice assistant arena, we have seen Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri working on serving customers in better ways. Since they primarily use the customers’ voice instead of screens, their effectiveness has increased to many folds.
Voice commerce is turning out as a go-to trend for retailers, even in the US, it has been expected to witness over 77 million homes that will be using smart home devices by 2025. Customers have been using the IoT devised, including smart displays and smart mirrors to receive the product information in the most helpful and non-intrusive ways possible.
When voice will be doing all the job, screens might not even be a necessity. Smart speakers will be recognizing their customers' voices and responding accordingly with voice commerce. Their voice commands will be enough to search for products and buy them.
One working example of their technology is the voice ordering system at Walmart. Customers at Walmart can add products to the cart using their smart speakers and place orders. The purchased items will be available for pickup with the team of Walmart.
- Robots and Autonomous Vehicles
Robotics and autonomous technology are no longer confined to fictional movies and novels; they have shown their usefulness in the retail industry, especially after the pandemic hit the industry. Walmart is also planning to launch its line of completely autonomous trucks to make deliveries in 2021. Whereas a famous supermarket chain, Safeway, is inaugurating its new driverless cart service to provide groceries to the customers. Uber will be using a delivery robot by Serve Robotics, the company previously known as Postmates X. It was acquired by Uber for $2.65 billion.
Verizon and UPS Flight Forward made this clear in January 2021 that they'll be joining hands to work together on contactless drone retail delivery. The service will first start in the Villages, a Florida neighborhood. Companies also mentioned the use of 5G connectivity to improve air traffic control so that they can keep the drones from colliding.
There is also great news for auto retailers. Customer service robotics will further improve the role of technology in online shopping. Hyundai deployed the DAL-e to its Seoul showroom in January 2021. It is a robot that will greet customers and assist them in finding the right automobile as per their needs. DAL-e is also capable of sensing if the customers are covering their faces or not and will be recommending them to wear masks.
Inventory management has been difficult after the pandemic. Companies are using robotics to manage inventories for retailers as well. Machine learning and computer vision will be used in the machines such as SmartSight to assess any sort of misplacement on the shelves as well as the scarcity of the items.
We have seen drastic changes in technology use in online shopping. People are giving just 5 to 8 seconds of attention to products, which has made it extremely hard for retailers to grab customers' attention and make them buy the products.
E-commerce is getting more and more competitive and price-sensitive and it has exerted much pressure on the retailers to cope with how different forms of technology impact shopping and use innovative solutions that are new to the industry if they want to stay ahead of others in the market. Merchants are in dire need of rethinking how technology is used in supermarkets and eliminating the complexity by creating a user experience with minimum clutter.
6. The Future of Retail: New Technology Constituting the New Normal
This pandemic has posed a series of extremely difficult challenges for the retail industry, but thanks to technology, businesses have made a great deal of progress in the due course. The role of tech in online shopping and brick and mortar has only increased in the last two years. Technological advancements including Big data, AR, machine learning, data science, and so on have demonstrated that businesses can take these challenges to get to the newer heights of improvement.