Don’t Miss These Trends in Retail Tech

Here are five tech trends we are seeing gaining traction in retail. Have you seen these trends? Did we miss any tech retail trends that you know of? Tell us in the comments!

Full Transcript Below:

Cris: Large banks, Amazon first shopping experience, maybe even your large grocery supply chains, that sort of stuff. Andrew: How can I make my products and, in some cases, services more accessible to people on mobile devices? Cris: Probably more for the smaller mom and pops, or even just second-tier retail. Andrew: This pressure to try to compete with Amazon.

M-Commerce

Cris:

Trends in retail technology. So we’ve obviously heard about e-commerce for a really long time. It’s just something that’s been around in the verbiage when you’re building applications or even going to set up a storefront of some sort online. But there’s this term that we’re going to start off, basically, M-Commerce. And so we’ll talk about kind of retail technology, how it’s changing and some main trends. But I think there’s five. And starting with M-Commerce, I think this is a subdivision or just kind of really another kind of lane of running and thinking of eCommerce, which is really talking about the idea of having a mobile conference type of a setup or a commerce type of a setup.

Cris:

So the application on your phone where you can basically go through the experience as opposed to many years ago, I think when eCommerce first started, it was all computer-based. But now everything is so mobile, and we’re used to having storefronts on our phones, and we’re dealing with them in that space. And we’ve done this for so long with Amazon, but we’re starting to feel a press in retail, probably more for the smaller mom and pops, or even just second-tier retail places. They are also feeling a push that, man, I have to have an M-Commerce experience. I have to have an app for my users. What do you think? You feeling that? You seeing that when we’re talking with customers?

Andrew:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, mobile commerce is a thing. And I think under mobile commerce also falls, mobile banking falls under there, mobile payments. People using Venmo and things like that. So there’s a lot of just mobile commerce that’s going on. But definitely more this pressure to try to compete with Amazon. People want to, obviously, you can’t compete with Amazon, but people are used to buying things on their phones and shopping for clothing on their phone, buying beauty products or candles or whatever it might be. People, a lot of times, want to do that on their phones. They don’t want to go to a desktop to do that. Or maybe not even a tablet in many cases. I know I shop on my phone quite a bit.

Andrew:

So yes, definitely. There’s this push to have, how can I make my products and, in some cases, services more accessible to people on mobile devices? So when they’re on the go, when they’re sitting on the toilet, whatever that moment they have, that small period of time that they have, they’re probably going to be on their phone. And how can I be there to sell them?

Cris:

Keep their product in front of them? How can I sell? And it’s for any vertical like you said. So it’s coming. Primarily, it all started with large banks, Amazon first shopping experience, maybe even your large grocery supply chains, that sort of stuff. And then over time, it’s evolved into the smaller, well, I’m the local credit union. I want to be able to compete with Chase Bank and Bank of America who already have this mobile experience. Well, we need a mobile app also. Or we are the local grocer that wants to compete with Save Mart or Vons, whatever it is. Well, we should have a mobile shopping experience as well. And it’s only through this experience that I think a lot of these companies are going to continue to exist moving forward.

Andrew:

Yeah. Well, and there’s a big tie just into social media too with it. So you’re on Instagram, you see the purse that this person has, and then there’s a tie-in where I can actually click on that and then go to the shop and buy it. So tying that in too. And I’m looking at Instagram on my phone in most cases. So definitely, e-commerce kind of weaves its way into all the different social platforms, just all the different content we’re digesting on our phones. Oftentimes there’s someone there trying to sell us something.

Integrations with an ERP

Cris:

Totally. I mean, I keep going back to Amazon because it’s the experience that we all know so much. They’re just so prevalent in society, even in the last few years. There’s a very clear experience that you get when you jump on Amazon, you pull up these product lists, you’re searching, you pull up all these products, they have these detailed descriptions. You’re buying, putting stuff in your cart. It ships. You’re doing touchless payments, all this kind of stuff. And then you’re getting tracking information along the way.

Cris:

And all of that is generally, I mean, it is controlled by some kind of an ERP software on the back end. It’s actually integrated into Amazon. It’s managing all this kind of stuff. It’s helping automate a lot of these sales processes and the feedback to you as the customer. And I think this is something that we’re starting to see more and more needing to get integrated in across all these verticals and these technologies. It’s not just Amazon anymore that needs to have an ERP application. It’s the local shop down the corner that sells dresses, that’s like, man, I want to have that experience for my customers as well.

Andrew:

Right. Makes sense. Yeah, the integration and tie-in makes a lot of sense because ERP is a very broad term. And so, it touches all these different aspects of our business. Integration is always such a benefit because of eliminating manual processes. So I really see the value in that.

Cris:

Agreed. What else? What do you think is another thing that’s important?

Cashierless Shopping

Andrew:

Well, I mean, cashier-less shopping is certainly a thing. I mean, you could look at, probably the more flashy, fun example is the Amazon Go Stores. There’s I think four of them in San Francisco, at the time of filming this video. But you can walk in there, you can scan. I was actually just looking at it before I came over here. You can scan your mobile app. You can insert your card tied to an Amazon account, or they even have one where you can just put your Palm up to it and it apparently scans your Palm and you’ve registered that ahead of time, do all your shopping. And then you just walk out the door, I say, without paying. You still pay.

Cris:

Nothing in life is free.

Andrew:

But they just bill your Amazon account. And so it’s such a low friction way of shopping that’s really fun. I haven’t had the pleasure of going to one yet, but I’ve watched the videos. And so I’d answer, it’s a really cool idea that I hope takes off more.

Cris:

I know they’re doing it at Sam’s Club. Some Sam’s Club locations are starting to pilot that, so we’re even seeing now our Costcos and our Sam’s Clubs and our large big box stores being like, come in, grab the go-kart and the seven-pack of strawberries and just walk out of the store. And you’re good. And it’s all paid for, which is pretty wild to think.

Andrew:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s crazy. It’s pretty cool though. I definitely hope that takes off.

Cris:

I agree. Yeah.

Andrew:

And then I think the more common one people see is self-service kiosks, or self-checkout is probably another good example. I feel we may be getting a little away from mobile commerce, but the idea is that because it’s not mobile, right? But the idea is that you’ve got this cashier-less experience, which is very closely related to mobile commerce, where I’m not dealing with a person. I’m getting all my products. And as long as they don’t have alcohol in my cart, I can check myself out. I don’t know. I mean, kiosks are all over the place. So, you can make your own keys with them.

Cris:

Oh yeah. I know. It’s crazy. You used to have to go to the local hardware store. Now you can go to a grocery store or the hardware store or the big box store, wherever, and there’s going to be a machine there that you just pop your key, and copies the key and spits one out for you. And it’s just crazy like that. But I was even thinking more recently with cashier-less shopping and how this even ties back into the mobile experience, there are lots of kiosks out there that allow you to scan a code and then have an actual mobile style experience on your phone. So not only are you not dealing with a human and it’s cashier-less, it’s all automated. But you’re now putting human interaction into it, and not even using the kiosk anymore, you’re doing these inputs on your phone. And you’re, again, back to that mobile-first experience, which is pretty insane.

Andrew:

Yeah. I think that was a push from the pandemic and all that to like, well, I don’t even want to touch the kiosk. How can I just touch my phone? And so, like you said. I mean, I’ve seen ones where you scan a code and I can literally control the kiosk from my phone so I’m not touching it at all.

Experiential Online Shopping

Cris:

Yeah, which is pretty wild. So all these kinds of experimental kind of shopping type stuff is happening on mobile, it’s happening online. But yeah, I think a big trend in retail right now is experimental kind of online shopping kind of experiences. So things where you’re integrating maybe a sales bot of some sort. So again, we’re stepping away from the human interaction a little bit, which some people can say is good or bad. But we’re leveraging technologies on the back. Obviously, we’ve seen for a long time, oh, you’re looking at this, oh, well, here’s a similar related item. Or even a bot popping up and saying, “Hey, we noticed that you’ve been scanning on this for this long. Are you interested in this particular item? You know that this item is on sale?” And actually starting to automate and walk through some of these online shopping experiences is something that helps just move your product as the actual company forward to the forefront of the customer, and then hopefully engage with it in another way that they would not be able to engage by just organically finding it.

Cris:

You’re starting to actually leverage some of these technologies to actually try out experimental-type things. And I think a big thing that’s really great with a lot of these mobile apps. I even know from doing the whole ship a box to you with clothes kind of thing, you can save sizes on there. You can start to put in information about clothes that you like and you don’t like. And it’s starts to build out these profiles for you. And you’re getting a very tailored experience when you’re shopping online, as opposed to just walking into the store and being like, okay, I got to walk to the section that I like or look for. It’s just there. You literally pop open your app. And it’s the section that you want because they know you already.

AI Improving the Supply Chain

Andrew:

How would you say that AI is being leveraged in the supply chain?

Cris:

So AI in the supply chain’s an interesting thing because I don’t think this is for necessarily the small mom-and-pop type stores that I keep talking about. But it is actually affecting them in a way, because the overall supply chain has just changed so much in the last few years, with a pandemic, we had the boat in the canal. There’s all these things that kind of happened that have started to affect the supply chain. And overall, AI is being leveraged now against that supply chain to start and help avoid these kinds of issues in the future. They’re using technology and AI-type algorithms to start to track shipments better and to see what the product looks like, what the backflow of component pieces used to build these computers on, and so forth.

Cris:

And leveraging AI has become so important to actually keep, I think, the supply chain moving in the last few years. Because without it, it really would’ve ground to a halt even more than it already has. And I think we’ve learned some stuff. And that’s not going to change moving forward. We are, I think, going to continue to leverage AI on the supply chain as we just try and figure out other ways to leverage it overall. AI’s not going anywhere, and it’s basically helped keep food on the table and products on people’s shelves, which is pretty cool.

Alexandra:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Cris and Andrew as they told you all about five different trends that we’re seeing in the retail vertical with technology. If you have any questions at all, go ahead and leave them in the comments section and we’ll get right back to you. And don’t forget to check out the description box down below. We have a bunch of really helpful links for you. And in particular, I want to highlight our free DevOps guide. It has a bunch of great information if you’re interested in a DevOps implementation.

Alexandra:

And of course, check us out online at bixly.com. It’s a great place to learn about all of the different services that we have, including a free 60-minute call with Cris. All you have to do is hit that button right at the top that says start my project roadmap. Until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.

Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com on April 26, 2022.

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COO at Bixly.com with a background in self-service payment kiosks and project management. Connect on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/redswimmer

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Andrew Savala

Andrew Savala

COO at Bixly.com with a background in self-service payment kiosks and project management. Connect on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/redswimmer

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