Augmented Reality

Top 3 Retail Tech Trends to Leverage for an Enhanced Customer Experience

AR, AI and operation intelligence help retailers navigate shifts in supply chain.

Pro Tip: Consumers are constantly looking to retailers to provide ways to make their lives easier. One avenue of that trend is through product innovation, but it also comes from the shopping experience itself. Retailers need to continue to provide faster technology, better customer transparency, and more accurate logistics and deliveries to ensure that customers feel the shopping experience is efficient. Investments in retail technology will help alleviate customer pain points to expand loyalty and retention.

Augmented Reality

Delays, product shortages and rising costs continue to plague the retail and supply chain industries — and consumers are feeling the impact firsthand. However, this isn’t changing their shopping expectations, requiring retailers to offer speed and flexibility, putting them at risk of losing customers if both shopping and delivery experiences aren’t seamless.

However, retailers should not just implement the necessary technology to manage issues, but they also need to understand the use of modern technologies to learn, unlearn and relearn consumer behavior and interests to stay ahead of the competition and future-proof their businesses.

From the pandemic to the holiday shopping season to recent supply chain stresses, many factors have forced customers to frequently and rapidly change their shopping habits and expectations. In fact, consumers have indicated that product availability, faster delivery time, local shipping options and total visibility into orders are the key to a premium buying experience.


Additionally, while many consumers have increased their use of digital and omnichannel services, such as home delivery, curbside pickup or shopping via social media platforms, they also expect to have the same seamless experience in-store as online.

With all this in mind, the top three trends that retailers are integrating to navigate successfully shifts in the space include:

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) — Augmented reality is the digital version of “try before you buy.” Instead of purchasing a product, taking it home and testing it out, AR allows customers the same experience either in-store or at home to trial the product ahead of purchasing. Eventually, AR has the potential to reduce the need for returns and ultimately ease supply chain pressures.
  2. Invest in Operational Intelligence and Remote Support — From packaging, labeling, leaving the warehouse, shipping and arriving at the front door, consumers crave information on their purchases. On top of the e-commerce hassle, retailers also need to know what their devices are doing in-store to proactively identify and resolve issues quickly. Retailers have already seen the use of RFID technology in logistics centers to better manage inventory and relay real-time updates to consumers and retailers. Employees also have been given mobile devices with lockdown or Kiosk Mode, allowing employees to remain focused on daily tasks and avoid hazardous apps that could hurt the security of the mobile device. Now retailers are implementing Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions to monitor all devices within a business, aimed at improving retail productivity and safety through operational intelligence and especially remote support. An EMM solution allows retailers to track lost productivity due to device downtime, missing devices, slow remediation times and where they lost sales.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Consumers not only want, but also expect information on their purchases to be available at their fingertips every step along their purchase journey. It’s up to retailers to deliver and provide the information they need. If not, they’ll simply shop elsewhere. AI – already popping up in physical stores of major companies, like Amazon – can result in increased loyalty and repeat buying by personalizing the shopping experience. The best ways to leverage AI in-store to boost customer satisfaction embrace:
virtual reality
  • Leveraging Buying History — If a customer has a history of buying blue clothing, for example, AI can serve up blue clothes it predicts the customer will like the moment they enter a store. AI can also offer similar products based on factors such as seasonality and average purchase price.
  • Virtual Assistants — Consumers can ask AI-powered virtual assistants questions via talk or text, such as “Is this available in blue?” or “Could you direct me to it?”
  • Walk-out Shopping —  Customers can now enter a store, grab the items they need to purchase and leave without having to use a checkout. Over time, AI can predict the products a customer will buy and eventually, proactively have them ready for the customer as they walk in.

The Bottom Line

Retailers can jump ahead of their competition by not only having the right technology in place, but properly managing that tech as well. Solutions for the technical challenges of their business can reduce long-term costs and deliver a significant return on investment. This will keep customers happy, loyal and ensure repeat purchases.

Shash Anand

About the Author: Shash Anand is the senior vice president of product strategy at SOTI, a provider of mobile and IoT management solutions.

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