How Are Tomorrow’s Retail Practices Shaping Up?
The past couple of years have been an eye-opener for the retail industry. While it was inevitable that critical services and their supporting ecosystems would continue to operate, the uncertainty of the times left businesses in other sectors blindsided.
Multiple studies show that technology across industries is shifting to adjust to the changing marketplace.
- Enterprise IT spending in the retail industry will be at $193.2 billion in 2021, up from $182.5 in 2020, pointing towards accelerated digital transformation.
- 77% of retailers would have surveyed feasibility to have AI in place, of which 87% place robotic warehouse management as the top use case, pointing towards fewer people and more automation.
- Based on consumer behavior, the self-serving kiosk market revenue could double by 2027 (from 2020). Pointing towards an aggressive adoption of self-service technologies by the industry and services by the consumer.
Features That Makeup Tomorrow’s Retail Practices
Industry research around the expected end-consumer experience sees recurring themes around contactless experiences, cashless payments, BOPIS, BOPIL (Click and Collect). We have identified the following recurring trends from the multiple industry research findings and academic studies sampled.
- Digital Transformation: The retailer and the consumer are having more digital interactions. This digital push has made the entire industry accelerate its efforts to be digitally available. Everything from inventory management to digital marketing campaigns drives retail sales.
- Automation: Social distancing mandated minimizing human-human interactions. In the consumer-facing retail domain, this means task and process automation. Stakeholders, like cashiers, order takers, help-desks, security personnel, planogram experts, stock and procurement teams, etc., and more could now be automated. Even when human intervention is needed, it is augmented or heavily supported by software tools and even algorithmic AI’s.
- Self-Service Technologies: Consumers are the recipients of all automated retail experiences. Their preferences make more retail domains turn to self-service technologies and applications to give consumers the option to minimize person-person contact. Retailers are also keen on taking their businesses across online channels, focusing on mobile-first experiences.
Multiple technologies are essential for self-service industries to succeed. And they revolve around the ability to provide dependable and consistently good customer experiences. The above trends help retailers achieve the following benefits,
- Reduced operating expenses: barring the upfront investments for automation and digital transformation, adopting features linked to these trends reduce operating expenses by providing real-time data and insights across the retail value chain. This visibility also helps in reduced spending on resources and less wastage.
- Increased revenues: all three trends help identify product and service consumption patterns and predict the best consumer for the subsequent consumption cycle.
- Enhanced customer experience: investing in backend technology and applications does not ensure retail customer satisfaction. Retailers will also need to factor in their expectations across channels. From contactless service delivery to sanitized safe contact surfaces, retailers must consistently delight the customer.
Equipping Your Retail Practices For the Future
At first, lockdowns restricted the movement of goods and people. Later restrictions impacted trade, commerce, and livelihoods. Consumer-facing entities faced most of the brunt, which accelerated the need for a digital transformation.
While more consumers prefer self-service, merely leveraging self-service technology and products may not be sufficient to keep customers satisfied. Taking this thought further, properly implemented self-service technology could be a critical differentiator that provides a competitive advantage to your retail business.
Evaluating Your Business For Transition to the Self-Service Model
Self-Service Technology is evolving to accommodate more business types across industries. There are several use cases for traditionally offline domains. For example, IDS’ smart lockers are applicable for repair shops serving personal vehicle owners or servicing electronic goods. Our smart lockers can help deliver contactless experiences.
We can help identify use cases that support your offline business and enjoy the fruits of retail self-service technologies.
Partnering With IDS For Making Your Self-Service Business More Profitable
IDS’ capabilities and offerings are in sync with what is required to future-proof your retail business. A few relevant use cases across industries and domains are
- Restaurants: IDS supply lockers are an ideal fit for contactless delivery. Our lockers are internet-enabled and have an API that ensures mobile apps can communicate seamlessly with them.
- Laundries: In addition to locker solutions for contactless laundry collection and delivery. Supply dispensers can provide additional sales revenues to self-service laundries by providing customers with laundry supplies.
- Autowash Centers: Dispensers for car care products can bring in additional revenues.
- Health and Fitness: Our Vending Fit application serves gyms and fitness centers. It is equipped with credential-based access and intelligent inventory management capable of providing real-time reports.
- Automated Retail Stores: Our BOPIS/CNC offerings help retailers provide their customers with Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store and Click and Collect options. They focus on bridging the online and offline experiences without a hitch – from ordering on a mobile app to collecting the ordered item in a controlled environment at a convenient time.
Unlike our competitors that provide automated vending machines and lockers, we are your one-stop for successful vending and dispensing solutions. We are an end-to-end solution provider.
Our patented UVC based sanitization technology, intelligent inventory management technology, asset tracking and management software etc., showcase the depth and scope of what we offer. Our flexible leasing programs offer more value for your budget. At the same time, our 24/7 technical service on-site repair and support ensures business continuity and more bang for your buck.
Trust us when we say you have not truly experienced a single source supplier in automated dispensing until you have experienced IDS. Contact us now to explore how our technology, offerings, and automated vending and dispensing solutions could benefit your business.