Discover the evolution of retail through Smart Retail Solutions. This article unveils the dynamic shift in the shopping experience with the integration of smart technologies. Explore the impact of AI, AR, and IoT on customer interactions, inventory management, and sales analytics, ushering in an era of personalized, interconnected, and unforgettable retail experiences.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Smart Retail Defined: Uncover the essence of smart retail, its role in countering e-commerce competition, and its forecasted market growth to $58.23 billion by 2025.
  2. AI Revolution: Explore the pivotal role of Artificial Intelligence in enhancing customer experiences, predicting product demands, and revolutionizing inventory management, bringing efficiency and cost savings.
  3. Customer Journey Importance: Delve into the concept of the customer journey in smart retail, emphasizing its significance in creating satisfying, personalized, and memorable shopping experiences.
  4. Technological Marvels: Learn about cutting-edge technologies, from smart shelves and beacons to mobile apps and virtual fitting rooms, reshaping the retail landscape and enticing customers with notifications, personalized offers, and virtual try-ons.
  5. Robot Employees: Witness the rise of robot employees in retail, streamlining inventory tasks, providing multilingual customer service, and freeing human resources for more personalized assistance. Understand the transformative journey of retail into the era of AI-driven smart retail solutions.
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The Definition of Retail

Retail is the direct sale of products or services from a business to a customer. A retail transaction operates with small quantities of goods meanwhile wholesale refers to purchasing goods on a bigger scale. Retail transactions are not the same as online transactions. And that’s because goods must be sold from a single point directly to a consumer as their final users.

What Do We Mean Under Smart Retail?

What is smart retailSmart retail is the application of smart technologies to change the in-store experience. It provides better customer service and personalizes and modernizes the retail industry to make it competitive with drastically emerging e-commerce. Lately, retailers have found themselves in fierce competition against eCommerce companies in an attempt to win their customers back.

All the major retailers in the US such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target continuously improve services on their websites and mobile apps to earn their consumers’ loyalty, but it seems like it isn’t enough, consumers demand more from retailers. Therefore, retail is a dynamic and highly competitive industry – there is no guarantee of success. That is where smart technologies are called upon.

Increase in Smart Retail Solutions is on Its Way

 It is forecast that the size of the global smart retail market revenue will reach 58.23 billion US dollars by 2025, according to a recent report by Grand View Research, Inc., progressing at a compound annual growth rate of 23.9% from 2018 to 2025. In the modern-day retail industry, conventional physical stores are facing intense competition from the rapidly expanding eCommerce sector.

Thus, traditional retailers need to incorporate smart retail technology to bring their customers back. Smart technology enhances and digitizes shopping experiences in physical stores. Examples are personalization of customers’ demands, excellent assistance in a store as well as end-to-end connection experience to the internet environment, and overall enhanced customer experience.

Smart Retail Market Report Highlights

  • The visual marketing segment occurred as the largest market in 2017 and is estimated to reach 16 billion US dollars by 2025.
  • The software segment is going to witness the highest compound annual growth rate of 26% over the forecast period
  • The Asia Pacific smart retailing market is likely to experience the highest compound annual growth rate during the same period. Growing adoption of smart retail solutions such as radio frequency IDentification, facial recognition, and big data analytics by retailers in China and Japan in order to provide ease of online shopping experience within a physical store.
  • Key players include Intel Corporation, IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft Corporation, Softbank Robotics Holdings.

Role of AI in Retail

Everything around us is becoming increasingly interconnected through technology. IoT devices provide a remarkable opportunity to receive services and connect to information wherever you are. The era of connected customers is what we are witnessing nowadays. We are connected to our homes and can manage them via IoT smart devices for home. If not, then we are connected to our favourite brand stores receiving notifications for wristbands from them.

Artificial Intelligence can help consumers “try on” things they want to buy. It increases the probability of online purchases as people will have a more realistic view of the things they pay for. IoT (internet of Things), AR, and VR are those smart technologies retail is relying on. AI robots can help with inventory management or can help clients improve their in-store experience by providing information on the location of the products, prices or sales.

Artificial Intelligence which finds its application both in IoT solutions and AR can be helpful in:

  • identifying repetitive clients;
  • define the location of clients and their needs;
  • predict product demands and price discounts;
  • conduct analytics based on data from the external world (wearables and IoT devices, smartphones, Google trends);
  • empowering voice payments;
  • enhancing security and theft detection;
  • customer behavior prediction.

AI helps businesses benefit from behavioral economics which studies customer behavior. Algorithms process customer’s emotional responses during shopping experiences in-store and online. AI can measure internal and external supply chain expenses, lower freight costs, and predict course of action when unexpected things happen. Artificial Intelligence systems are 80% of these savings in returns and supply chain management.

Just imagine: you walk into the store searching for that one particular product, a bottle of your favourite fragrance. As soon as you enter the store, your smartphone rings to notify you about a map of the store opened via a smart app. The map shows you where the product that you were looking up online is. You make your way to the product, observe it, like it and decide to purchase it. A retail robot approaches you asking whether you need any assistance finding something else. When you have finished shopping, you just walk away from the store.

On your way out, the sensors scan your items and add them up – the final price is then deduced from your smart shopping app. Also, by shopping there recently, you can get an automatic discount. The shelf where you picked up the goods, meanwhile, notifies the inventory system about a recent purchase, so the retail store’s manager knows to restock the product. And this is not a mere fantasy: smart AI robots in retail already exist.

Replenishing Customer Experience with Emotions

Smart retail is all about making the customer experience more satisfying and personalized by using smart technologies. The idea of smart retail is obviously to provide an unforgettable experience for people so that they will want to return to the store over and over again. Concepts such as “customer journey” are very relevant.

The customer journey is the complete summary of shopping experiences, emotions and impressions that a client gets while interacting with your company, brand or store. The customer journey is that important route that the customer takes which starts from entering the store and observing the goods until the client leaves the smart retailing establishment not empty-handed.

Technologies That Drastically Improve Your Shopping Experience

Technologies in smart retail that improve shopping experience

  • Smart shelves

Shelf-edge technology is great. These are video-transmitting devices equipped on shelves. Product companies can design advertisements and send them remotely to IoT devices. Such an approach to displaying advertisements in-store increases ROI, and customer satisfaction and strengthens brand recognition.

Smart shelves are wireless inventory control systems, usually with weight sensors. The weight sensors are built on the shelf itself or installed under regular shelves. These weight sensors regularly notify the back-end system about the current quantity of the items on the shelves. They also might use radio frequency identification tags and scanners.

In that case, they scan the number of products, and if an item is being taken from the surface, shelves send a signal. It’s helpful in case the item falls off the shelf since some products like meat, fish, or ice cream need to be under specific conditions. All in all, smart shelves make it possible to control the quantity of items more efficiently and automate your process.

  • Beacons

You can place beacons in stores so that they can send customers in or near the store notifications. They might include sales, special offers, new products, or brand collections. Small beacons are devices that can connect customer smartphones if they are somewhere near and then send notifications about discounts, special offers, and so on to their smart app. In the smart retail industry, this helps to increase customer loyalty, and attracts more potential clients to your smart retail store. And also such advertisements encourage people to buy the product you offer. According to Swirl Networks Inc. research, over 70% of customers admit that beacon-triggered ads and offers increased their likelihood to purchase in-store.

  • Mobile apps

With no doubt, mobile apps are an important part of smart retailing. Smart apps allow customers to explore your product range and offer an improved overall mobile experience. Besides, all customers have more trust for the store if it has a website or smart shopping app available for their smartphone.

  • Virtual fitting rooms

Virtual fitting empowered by AI and AR can be a great advantage for new generations Y and Z who want to save time on shopping but find the product they are looking for and even try it on in virtual reality.

  • Employees made of steel

Even though it might seem weird and quite unconvincing to communicate with a talking microwave on wheels, this is what the future of smart retailing is all about. Robot employees are gaining popularity amongst leading companies all over the globe—more and more establishments are adopting this tendency. It’s a little scary to trust a machine to be your customer service representative, yet it is also a fantastic opportunity to cut down on menial tasks burdening your flesh-and-bone workforce.

OSHbot, the newest robotic employee of Lowe’s, assists customers with finding specific goods. It also provides information on discounts, promotions, and inventory. Plus, the new employee is bilingual and can communicate in both English and Spanish. Other major retail stores, such as Target, use robots to roam around the smart retail store. They take notes of misplaced items or products that need restocking. By taking over simple inventory tasks, Target’s robot employees free up Target’s human workforce to focus on providing more intimate customer assistance.

   Also, check the benefits of retail predictive analytics!

Final Thoughts

The landscape of retail is rapidly evolving, driven by the integration of smart technologies that aim to revolutionize the in-store experience. Smart retail, characterized by the application of AI, IoT, AR, and VR, is not merely a response to the growing dominance of e-commerce but a proactive effort to enhance customer satisfaction, personalize interactions, and stay competitive in a dynamic market.

As the global smart retail market continues to expand, with forecasts predicting significant revenue growth, it’s evident that traditional retailers must adapt to remain relevant. By leveraging smart technology solutions, retailers can create immersive and personalized experiences that resonate with customers and drive loyalty.

AI plays a central role in the transformation of retail, empowering businesses to understand customer behavior, predict preferences, and optimize operations. From AI-powered robots assisting with inventory management to virtual fitting rooms enhancing the shopping experience, smart technologies are reshaping every aspect of retail.

Furthermore, smart retail isn’t just about efficiency and convenience; it’s also about emotions. By focusing on the customer journey and delivering memorable experiences, retailers can forge deeper connections with consumers and foster brand loyalty.

Technologies such as smart shelves, beacons, mobile apps, and virtual fitting rooms are just a few examples of how smart retail is redefining the shopping experience. By embracing these innovations, retailers can create dynamic and engaging environments that cater to the preferences and needs of modern consumers.

In conclusion, the future of retail lies in the seamless integration of smart technologies that elevate the in-store experience, empower customers, and drive business growth. As retailers continue to adapt and innovate, smart retail promises to reshape the industry and usher in a new era of customer-centric shopping.