The final rush before Christmas means a busy time of year for shoppers and online retailers alike ‒ and with consumers pursuing online shopping more than ever before, businesses are working hard to improve their operational capabilities and online experience. So, to ensure the right products reach customers on time, businesses have been quick to adopt IoT and other tech solutions to help them monitor, manage, distribute and meet customer expectations.
Tracking Warehouse Assets
Although not a new technology, RFID is a relatively cost-effective solution favoured by retail vendors as a tracking tool which has been growing in popularity over recent years. Small chips or tags are placed onto an item which transmits a signal when in range of a remote scanner, feeding the scanner a unique code which can identify the individual item and monitor information such as location, delivery status and, therefore, real-time stock availability. Managing stock individually or on a larger scale through RFID, helps improve product visibility by allowing businesses to regulate stock flow and reduce unnecessary costs. Providing accurate stock information to customer’s shopping online is critical to their satisfaction and possible return to the retail website – we have all been on the receiving end of an email informing us that the order can no longer be fulfilled and felt that pang of disappointment.
Personalised Shopping Experiences
Customers are seeking a more personalised shopping experience online and looking to replicate that human touch from a personal shopper in-store. Cloud computing and Big Data provide online retailers with the platform they need to enhance and deliver this. Once analysed, data can reveal patterns in an individual’s buying behaviour, providing online retailers with an opportunity to target offerings specific to that customer’s needs via websites, email and apps. This not only increases customer satisfaction as their shopping journey is simplified, but also helps to convert more clicks into sales.
Analysing the data from multiple customers can also highlight buying trends to create greater inventory visibility, helping online retailers to best know when to purchase more stock, when best to sell stock at a reduced price, and so on.
With 47% of shoppers regularly using Augmented Reality (AR) for their in-store and online shopping, it’s no surprise that AR technology is now embraced by many progressive brands and retailers.
As most AR applications are available on smartphones, shoppers have the ability to virtually try on clothing, shoes and make-up from the comfort of their homes, while taking the opportunity to compare a huge range of products before making a final purchase. This new “shopping journey” has also provided retailers with opportunities to maximise their sales intake:
- By collecting data from AR using customers, retailers can cross-sell different items to customers in hope of a purchase.
- Targeted discounts only available through the AR experience drive more potential customers to retail websites, with 41% of shoppers happily taking part in targeted AR promotions.
- AR can provide shoppers with additional product information, specifically images and videos of the product that can’t be viewed on a regular website.
Not just exclusive to the festive period, these solutions are ensuring online retailers can streamline their production and purchasing processes while improving customer experiences, enabling them to keep up with the increasing demands of online shopping year-round. By embracing the variety of technology available, businesses can gain competitive edge and deliver what consumers demand – a faster, more convenient and personalised experience.