As technologies evolve, so does the way that both retailers and their customers make use of them. With global economics facing a turbulent year, experts predict that the retail sector will make greater use of technology and data to improve customer experience, drive sales and cut costs. Here we look at how technology will influence online and in-store retail in 2023.
Greater use of AI data analytics
During the next twelve months, it is expected that retail businesses will seek to gain better insights from their data by utilising AI-powered analytics. Investment in AI and analytics will enable them to better connect with customers, predict behavioural changes and identify opportunities and threats, even in real time.
AI will enable companies to understand customers more deeply by analysing a wider array of interactions. Analysis won’t just include the web pages they visit, purchases made or emails opened; but, thanks to conversational AI, the conversations they have with businesses through chatbots, emails, messaging apps and social media. As a result, they will be able to attain more valuable insights about what their customers want and need, empowering them to drive improvements in customer experience.
With a volatile market forecast for 2023, companies will seek to boost operational efficiency through greater use of AI-enabled chatbots. In particular, we will see them increasingly deployed in customer support where they can not only carry out a wide range of basic processes but also filter customers that genuinely need human support and triage them to the right department.
However, while chatbot automation might improve efficiency, retailers need to ensure that they do not lose the human touch which is so vital to maintaining relationships. They also need to be transparent in how they use chatbot technology and data to maintain customer trust.
Headless checkout technology
In an attempt to boost sales, 2023 will see growing numbers of retailers adopt technology that improves the checkout experience. This will be used beyond the website checkout itself and lead to developments that widen the number of digital purchasing channels. These could include emails, product packaging and online videos, enabling shoppers to buy without the need to check out on the actual website. As a result, the omnichannel experience for shoppers can be expanded and enhanced.
To achieve this, businesses will increasingly make use of headless eCommerce platforms. These are platforms where the front-end user experience is separated from the back-end business logic, e.g., the software’s features and functions. As a result, the company can make use of API to modernise checkout experiences without having to replace or redevelop existing platforms and without downtime.
The other benefit of headless eCommerce technology is that data that is collected can deliver high-value, low-effort customer insights, enabling companies to develop immersive, sales-boosting CX.
As new communication channels have become available, brands have been quick to adopt them for marketing. It’s not uncommon for consumers to subscribe to messages on favourite channels like SMS, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Messenger. While these channels can be highly valuable in driving sales, statistics show that there is a growing number of consumers that unsubscribe from these because communication is too frequent, brands don’t send the right messages or they send them at the wrong time.
Companies need to remember that these channels are primarily used by people for personal communications and that they will be less happy about overactive marketing on them. A more tactful approach is needed, underpinned by data analyses. Personalisation of these messages will also help.
Personalisation through AR
While artificial intelligence is already helping retailers deliver personalisation and augmented reality is improving online shopping experiences, 2023 will see these two technologies come together to deliver personalised AR experiences. In this way, not only will product recommendation engines be able to show consumers the products they are most likely to be interested in, the shopper will then be able to experience the product in 3D and HD in a realistic setting. As a result, businesses that adopt this kind of technology (it can be used both online and in-store) are better able to offer the immersive brand experiences that boost engagement and sales, and which generate loyalty.
Though economic forecasts aren’t exactly rosy for 2023, both online and bricks and mortar retailers can make use of the latest technologies to offer better experiences, cut costs and grow revenue. From artificial intelligent data analytics to personalised augmented reality, the opportunities are there to be had. Underpinning this, of course, is the need to have the right infrastructure in place to deploy these technologies. The most cost-effective IT solution and the quickest to set up is the cloud. For information about our cloud solutions, visit our Enterprise Cloud Server Hosting page.