E-commerce giant Amazon has transformed the way customers look at purchases. A recent Forbes study revealed that 88 percent of customers are willing to pay extra costs for same-day delivery.

FREMONT, CA: The retail sector underwent some significant changes in 2019, and 2020 is about to bring in a lot more innovative technologies in the industry. The advent of digitalization along with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, automation, and cloud computing technologies have made it impossible for retailers to stay abreast without incorporating them into business functions. As retailers embrace these new technologies, they can learn how to explore, understand deeply, and leverage customer behavior to increase turnover.

Here are five emerging trends that will disrupt the retail sector in 2020.

The Physical Shift in Stores

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are the worst hit from the digital revolution. Retail store owners are trying to rapidly transform the in-store environment in a struggle to hold on to their last customers, forget attracting new ones. Multiple brands have shut down their megastores across the country and are adopting a more online approach. Those who continue to tread down the traditional ways are making seismic changes to their stores to stay in business. Small format pops up stores are gaining traction among retailers as they seem to attract a lot of new customers. Apart from pop up stores, both online and traditional retailers are testing waters to leverage the scarcity principle to drive purchases.

Time is Money

E-commerce giant Amazon has transformed the way customers look at purchases. A recent Forbes study revealed that 88 percent of customers are willing to pay extra costs for same-day delivery. Smaller retailers who may not have the logistics support to carry out such operations are often the worst hit under such scenarios. Established retailers are also partnering with courier service firms that can help them carry out same-day delivery of products.

The Data Surge

The advent of IoT devices and cloud computing has brought along with it a massive wave of data that needs to be processed. This calls for more massive servers and accessible data centres which can be a gigantic investment of infrastructure, but definitely a worthy one. This will also need retailers to invest in scientists with sharp data skills. This can help in product development, better management of inventory, and optimization of customer experiences seamlessly across all channels. IT geeks will be critical in driving revenue in the future, and investing in them would be a very prudent business decision.

Blending the Lines between Online and Offline

Customers have learnt to leverage the services provided by both online and offline retailers. Studies show that 75 percent of consumers research on products online and then purchase from stores. Another 54 percent prefer to order online and pick it up from stores. This provides brick and mortar retailers with an opportunity to lure customers to other products and services. Retailers need to equip themselves with rich customer-centric data to leverage shoppers that walk into their stores. Technologies like facial recognition can be used to identify customers and provide suggestions based on their purchase history. Recommendation engines and in-store personnel can provide a more personalized and meaningful experience to the customers. Retailers need to develop a customer-first approach towards their business. Offering loyalty points and discounts will always draw customers to come back for another round.

The Explosion of Social Shopping

Social media platforms allow people to stay connected with just a click or a swipe, and retailers need to make the best of these platforms. Instagram has emerged as a great platform to advertise and market products to a broader audience in the last couple of years. Popular brands often leverage their partnerships with various organizations to market their products on social media. Take soccer clubs, for instance. Major sports brands like Adidas and Nike have partnerships with major soccer clubs, and they advertise their products using the clubs Instagram pages. This not only increases the customer base but also tends to have a positive impact in terms of reach, as most fans tend to purchase such products out of loyalty to the club they support.

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