10th January 2019
It’s no secret that high street retailers are struggling. Shopping habits are changing and stores are scrambling to keep up.
For businesses that have always provided a face-to-face service, it can be difficult to successfully make the leap into the virtual world, but it’s essential if they’re to survive in the world of modern retail.
An article for Forbes looked at the top retail trends of 2019, noting that technology is set to grow in importance throughout the year for retailers of all sizes and across all sectors.
The news provider highlighted a string of high-profile businesses that closed their doors in 2018, and while they all cited various reasons for their decline, one thing consistently came up – falling foot traffic in their stores and a failure to embrace ecommerce.
In the UK, some of the biggest names to go under during 2018 included Toys R Us, Maplin and HMV.
According to the Forbes article, being able to compete in the ecommerce space is essential for retailers if they are to survive and continue attracting consumers. That means if you run a retail business and aren’t already offering an online service, you should consider working with a bespoke software company to provide an ecommerce platform this year.
There are a number of reasons that technology appeals so much to consumers, the news provider explained.
These include “the capability to personalise the shopping experience and the convenience of being able to learn more during a new product launch and purchase products from anywhere at any time”, the article stated.
A number of retail businesses are already exploring the opportunities that technology can offer. Sephora, a beauty chain, has not only put a lot of investment into developing its website and social media presence, but is experimenting with the new technology coming onto the market too.
It’s developed an augmented reality (AR) platform that allows customers to upload a photo of their face and virtually try on lipsticks, eye shadows, blusher and other cosmetic products, effectively enabling people to try before they buy.
The news provider also noted that the company is using artificial intelligence (AI) technology through its Color iQ technology that’s been developed in conjunction with Pantone. Color iQ can scan a face and then recommend products such as foundation, concealer and lip shades based on skin tone.
By embracing technology and investing in apps and other programs that can enhance the shopping experience, Sephora has marked itself out as a trailblazer in the sector. In fact, it was named one of the world’s most innovative companies last year by Fast Company.
Even if you’re not in a position to delve into AR and AI, that doesn’t mean you can’t use technology to your advantage. Offering a great online shopping platform could generate considerable revenue for your company.
Last year, it was estimated that shoppers in the UK would spend £1.5 billion online during Black Friday, which fell on 23 November in 2018. Tapping into even a fraction of that amount could be huge for your retail business.