Out-of-touch is entirely in and robots are balancing novelty and value. This is retail innovation in 2022, and the retail industry is all in.
Retail technology industry funding hit a new high of $29 billion in the first quarter of 2021. In other words, retailers and tech firms tried to merge online. Likewise, in-store experiences, customized interactions at every touchpoint, and speeded up delivery operations had their influence.
And boy, did the industry smack the ball in 2021! Can small businesses keep up?
Yay for Tech!
We’d be writing and reading till 2023 if we analyzed every retail innovation that took place in 2021. After all, some failed.
It’s easy to choose the few technologies where merchants will likely spend more this year.
“Untouchable” invention. The industry expects touchless technology to grow from $6.8 billion in 2020 to $15.3 billion in 2025. The projection may be an overstatement due to pandemic-related safety precautions. By 2020, 67% of merchants would accept no-touch payments, such as tap-and-go credit cards and mobile wallets.
According to Raydiant, a producer of in-store digital signage, by spring 2021, 72 percent of customers were utilizing contactless payments. Expect more frictionless options, like Amazon Go cashier-less stores. Step 2: Software that can read hand signals and other motions.
Niche Industry Quick-Replies
QR codes seemed consigned to the “Island of Lost Tech” for a while. Therefore, the pandemic has altered that by driving demand for touchless technologies QR codes.
The projection, according to Juniper Research, consumers will redeem 5.3 billion QR-coded coupons by mobile in 2022. Starbucks and 7-Eleven feature QR codes in their payment applications. Like Lacoste and Zara, merchants utilize QR codes to deliver customized smartphone offers in-store, advertise goods in windows.
Likewise, connect to web purchasing. And luxury companies have found them helpful in preventing product counterfeiting, a rising concern.
All online shopper data is as essential to fraudsters as to retailers. Corporate and government data breaches increased 17% a year until September 2021, surpassing 2020.
In 2021, the average retail data breach cost $3.27 million, up from $2 million in 2020.
Because hackers are growing more intelligent, merchants must invest in proven, faster-detecting solutions. They must also utilize these services more wisely, gathering the data required to achieve specific objectives. Securing it like Fort Knox…and then destroying it as carefully as plutonium.
Streaming Industry Upstream
Another popular activity for consumers is celebrity-hosted internet sales events.
Some say they will gain popularity in 2022. Experts warn merchants not to anticipate a boom yet — and therein lies the opportunity.
According to Coresight Research, the U.S. live streaming industry will hit $11 billion in 2021. A considerable increase to $35 billion by 2024, but still just 3.3 percent of anticipated U.S. eCommerce, according to Coresight.
You should thoroughly test themes, product mixtures, and marketing. A broadcast might remind viewers of a hard-sell QVC pitch, so be careful with your content.
Dark Shops That Shine
Demand for speedy delivery has put new technologies to the test in the last 24 months. Converting out-of-business shops into fulfillment centers has become common.
Online research shows retail online purchases as of 2021, about 21% of all retail purchases (and hence fulfilled). Compelling fulfillment centers will demand more precision technology as the worldwide same-day delivery business grows. Experts project going from $8.4 billion in 2021 to $10.2 billion in 2022.
Good start! However, many dark businesses now provide curbside and in-store pickup in addition to delivery. For example, these consumer-centric technologies position dark shops to dominate the industry in eCommerce growth until 2022.
Vaimo says that global eCommerce sales will hit $6.5 trillion by 2023.
Two Wait-and-See Technologies
With trillions at stake, merchants should take a chance on tech. But even those that merchants may offer in 2022 are bold and maybe ahead of their time.
Virtual Fitting Rooms
Virtual fitting rooms make the cut.
Just as merchants needed time to discover the proper match for QR codes, it may take another year or two for virtual fitting rooms to establish themselves in shops.
Levi’s introduced its “Virtual Stylist” in 2017, while Gucci and Macy’s have lately experimented with the technology.
A virtual fitting room requires excellent product images and augmented reality to create a 3-D illusion. Also, the customer’s technology (for example) will influence the experience. You will remember 2022 being the Year of Lost Tech for these reasons.
Until proven otherwise, the in-store robot’s utility and profitability place it in the “cute gimmick” category.
Meanwhile, an app is likely cheaper to locate things on the shelf or order out-of-stock items, and it is more convenient for consumers.
However, robots can also clean floors, check stock levels, and transport merchandise at a reasonable cost.
Encouraging shoppers to buy something is one thing, but blocking their way is another. Walmart has been trying robot-enabled last-mile deliveries aside from Tiny Mile’s charming self-driving delivery carts. Wal-Mart plans to deploy fully autonomous trucks in late 2022.
Keep Up With Retail Tech Industry
We may be scratching our brains about in-store robotics or the unexpected decrease of live streaming in a year.
Creators of technology and shops prepared to take in a “cute gimmick,” or lost technology are in control of such situations.
Most importantly, for smaller shops and their technology to be successful in the future, customers must be digital. If they don’t, you may forget their ideas in a flash.
Remember, a little plaster can cover a big eyesore.