Booming technologies predominantly drive digital disruption and customer experience and is turning to be the new currency.

FREMONT, CA: The retail industry, like any other sector, is transforming through a long period of unprecedented change. Emerging technologies like automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) have substantially transformed every platform of the retail journey, starting from inventory management to customer service. Retailers are adopting data analytics in every aspect of their business, including sales predictions, product recommendations, and store optimization. With consumers being accustomed to the impact of these emerging technologies on their shopping experience, their expectations are becoming higher than ever.

The retailers' ability to impactfully use AI, data analytics, and other emerging technologies to suffice the changing customer expectations will be an essential determinant of success in the new decade. The operational activities, like workforce management, inventory, and sustainability efforts, will be drastically impacted by these technologies.

• Establishment of robot resource organizations: The growing popularity of robots will have tremendous implications on the future of work. The retailers' ability to assist, redeploy, or replace the human workers in a highly value-adding activity will be crucial. To achieve this collaborative effort from the HR, IT, and a line of business managers will be needed to enable productive applications for various types of employees and establish positive partnerships between robots and the human workforce.

• Revamping digital investments: The retailers are leveraging AI to drive accurate demand forecasting, develop a tailored market assortment, and forward deploy inventory to localize fulfillment centers to keep up the inventory flexibility. Meanwhile, IoT technologies used in stores, inclusive of RFID, smart shelves, computer vision, and electronic shelf labels (ESLs), will better the on-shelf availability.

• Addressing workforce challenges: Retailers need to back-up a wide array of services to satisfy customer expectations. The increased duties of packaging, picking, and providing orders had put additional pressure on an already overextended store workforce. Enabling flexibility to work throughout retailer locations or within umbrella brands is a way to leverage workers more impactfully and give increased earning opportunities. In the upcoming years, the retailers will have to identify how the roles in the stores are altering and how they could be supplemented by labor sharing.