Luckily, a proliferation of new technology, like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and 3-D design is paving the way to retail success in this New Retail Economy. Technology offers consumers a cohesive, personalized brand experience, while retailers can better capture and measure customers’ behavior and innovate like never before to design and deliver products at greater speed and with greater precision.
This tech explosion couldn’t come at a better time. Millennials and Gen-Zers are altering the retail landscape – and fast. They make more online purchases than their baby boomer counterparts and expect immediate, convenient and consistent service when purchasing new products. This younger generational influence and subsequent trends, however, are making retailers’ job of keeping pace with consumer behavior more difficult.
Personalization, for example, is taking a front seat for retailers tailoring their operations to consumer preferences. In fact, 86 percent of consumers – and a whopping 96 percent of retailers – say personalization has at least some impact on purchasing decisions. This means organizations must focus on delivering unique products from idea to shelf faster than ever.
One way retailers are managing these changing preferences and interest in personalized products is with private label. Major retailers such as Target, Amazon, and Wayfair have invested in creating new lanes of business under smaller, more niche brand names to refresh their products without losing their legacy. This practice ensures consumers will always find new, often customized products – but still within the experience of a brand’s properties.
In the vein of personalization and customized offerings, the niche market is exploding. Hyper-curation has taken retail by storm with several increasingly popular brands in the last few years, such as Untuckit, a retail apparel company that sells casual men’s shirts designed to be worn untucked. Old retail wisdom demanded that organizations sell many different products, essentially being a ‘one stop shop’ for consumers. e. However, with the rise of the e-commerce, this traditional take on retail could (and has) ruined brands. Instead, retailers that specialize in just a few, high-demand products are ones that come out victorious.
Accurately anticipating and acting on shifting consumer needs and behaviors has long been an fantasy of retailers, but with new technology, real-time data, and analytics, organizations are better able to adapt their operations to understand and leverage shifting trends and preferences. Consumers want personalized products and instant gratification – retailers just have to know how to keep up.
New technology continues to turn retail on its head. Read more on how AI and ML help retailers better understand the consumer shopping experience.