Smart retail involves using data and analytics to give customers a better shopping experience
People are increasingly going back to brick and mortar businesses now that the pandemic is finally over, but they aren’t too happy about it: Even before COVID, people were dissatisfied with the experience of buying things in stores, Buyers 2019 found that 80% said they felt they were not getting the personalized shopping experience.
One way to give people that kind of experience is through so-called smart retail, which combines traditional shopping and modern “smart” technology using technologies such as big data analytics and the Internet of Things, AI, VR and AR. Better shopping experience for the customer. This mix of online and offline shopping is what IBM refers to as hybrid shopping, and it is now the primary shopping method for 27% of all consumers and 36% of Gen Zers.
The smart retail space is growing fast and it’s about to get huge, according to a research study by Prophecy Market Insights, which found that the smart retail market will grow 10x from 2020, when it was valued at $21.4 billion, to 2030 . When it is expected to be worth $211.25 billion. This is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.0%.
The report specifically sees the Asia Pacific (APAC) region as a region that is “expected to witness favorable growth in the smart retail market in the years to come.”
Some of the trends driving this include the growing retail industry due to increasing urbanisation, rising disposable income and changing consumer preferences; a growing e-commerce market with countries such as China, India and Indonesia experiencing significant growth in online sales; More technology investment, as the APAC region is home to several technology centers such as China, South Korea and Japan.
Lastly, the report points to supportive government policies for the adoption of smart retail solutions by providing incentives to retailers and investing in infrastructure development. This includes the Chinese government’s “New Retail” initiative, which aims to integrate online and offline retail channels and promote the use of smart retail technologies.
players in space
There are several startups in the sector that are taking advantage of these trends, including RetailNext, a company that collects and analyzes shopper behavior data in real time; True Fit, a digital fitting room solution that uses AI to help shoppers find the right size in apparel and footwear; CARTO, a location intelligence platform that allows organizations to use spatial data and analytics for more efficient distribution routes and strategic store placement; Standard AI, an autonomous checkout solution; and Stylumia, a company using AI for fashion trend forecasting.
Of course, several big players have also entered the space. For example, Intel partnered with ARENA15, an immersive retail and entertainment complex, in January 2020 to make it easier for customers to buy things using Intel’s technology and solutions. The company has also partnered with Sensormatic Solutions to power Sensormatic IQ, its intelligent operating platform for retail.
Meanwhile, stores such as Home Depot and Pandora are using IBM technologies to create personalized shopping experiences, both online and in-store, and Google Cloud for Retail.
Allows retailers to easily leverage AI across their entire organization and gain real-time insights from their data.
(Image source: inosoft.com)