Technology plays a vital role in the retail space. Without the introduction of some important tech, businesses will quickly fall behind. The year has just begun and already there are some strong emerging technology trends in the retail industry.
2017 saw the introduction of big players (like Amazon) into the Australian market which added more pressure for existing business and has made them approach this year with different management goals and new ways to achieve them.
These are the top retail technology trends we think will dominate 2018.
In 2018 time will become even more valuable. Customers are predicted to further embrace ways to minimise time spent on everyday chores. This year we will see an increase in companies implementing the ability for consumers to automate purchases.
Retailers who sell commodities (those everyday “have to buy” items) will streamline routine purchasing by introducing subscriptions and auto-renewals. This change in purchasing behaviour reduces time and effort for the consumer and retailer. By implementing this type of service, a business creates consistent weekly purchasing behaviour which allows for increased automation within inventory management systems. Automation offers more streamlined forecasting which allows more accurate inventory management and efficient order processing. Automating purchases not only creates a faster more efficient service for the customer but generates a consistent income for the business.
In addition, automation can be taken a step further with retailers implementing auto replenishment of products on the shop floor. Once the stock is at a set inventory level an automated purchase order is generated for the distributor, to ensure stock is never below demand. Easy to plug in systems like V Inventory will seamlessly complete this automation process. Our system checks stock levels daily and automatically transmits the required purchase orders to suppliers to ensure you are never out of stock.
Learn more about how V Inventory can streamline your business
All Things Social
A now pivotal area of retail management which has only come to the fore in the past couple of years is social media. The rise of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Live has fundamentally changed how retailers interact and promote products to consumers online.
One of the most credible forms of advertising is “real consumers” talking about your product. Social media is an excellent gateway to allow your customers to trial, discuss and spruik your product. These days simply posting about a product on your brand’s social profile won’t attract as many potential consumers. Retailers need to engage their customers through out of the box online campaigns and interact in real time.
The use of real time social media allows companies to quickly engage with their audience, but this fast sales pitch can create unpredictable inventory management scenarios. Social advertising creates sudden spikes in sales from both self-generated promotions and unexpected online media. For planned activity, V Net can improve the accuracy of stock management by providing forecasts ahead of time, taking into account store/SKU level lifts from previous and current campaigns, factoring in expected sales lifts from upcoming campaigns, and generating required promotional orders. For sales activity created by unexpected social buzz, stock may be quickly required outside of regular ordering schedules. The V Net system and our inventory experts monitor activity on a daily basis, identifying anomalies and actioning requests to ensure that suppliers can receive urgent top up orders immediately.
Social media marketing is a valuable resource as long as all areas of the business work together to ensure the promotion is successful. The V Inventory system ensures your inventory levels support your message to consumers.
Look At The Numbers
The role of data in inventory management has always been a key talking point. Retailers are starting to explore even more ways to leverage data in their sales, marketing and operations.
Holding the wrong amount and type of inventory is one of the largest costs to a business in the retail industry. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of stock positions and sales trends will reduce cost and increase sales. Data is constantly evolving, with the ability to add product tags to monitor usage, replacements, expiration dates and recalls. The more product information inputs into a system, the greater ability this data has in transforming the business. This year, we will see more companies implementing an external system, like , to better track and report on data.
Alongside this, an analytics platform such as our allows companies to track sales and inventory to make smarter retail decisions. Interactive dashboards allow managers to always know their top-selling products and how fast they are selling during a day. Automated reporting and comprehensive sales analysis gives insight into the preferences of shoppers, allowing strategic decisions to be implemented to improve their shopping experience. Data has evolved into more than just figures and when understood correctly, can give a businesses a competitive and strategic advantage.
We will eagerly wait to see how this year will conclude. Stay tuned to see our retail tech predictions for 2019, who knows what’s in store!