Technology trends in retail for 2020 – continuation
Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski
Some time ago, Bartłomiej Łatka, Expert in retail and logistics at Euvic IT, tried to bring a few technological trends for 2020 closer. Today, he would like to return to this alphabetical list and present some more noteworthy trends. Many of you are probably already using them, but a lot of you still have it ahead of you. Is it worth it? We hope that today’s “review” will help to dispel these doubts.
V like Voice
Voice Commerce is taking further steps in the world of retail every year, making its presence felt stronger and stronger. For many people, especially those who are digitally sceptical, it still reminds us of science fiction, but there is no need to deceive oneself – the facts speak for themselves.
First of all, the largest Internet companies invest millions of dollars in so-called voice assistants. @Google Assistant, @Alex, @Cortan, @Bixby or @Siri – you don’t have to introduce them to anyone? Enterprises using voice assistants launch new languages every month, manufacturers of these “intelligent tools” make constant efforts to raise their quality and functionality to higher level, and the way they interact with them is more and more like a natural human dialogue.
Secondly, voice commerce is becoming an undeniable fact and almost everyone can experience it. If you use Google maps to say to your smartphone “find an open pizza restaurant in a neighborhood” you will get a list of restaurants that are open at the present, located near us. We may not have bought a pizza this way yet, but in many cases we are only three clicks away from it, which means that sooner or later it will become a routine for us. How can you be so sure? In USA companies like Seven Eleven and Walmart have already launched voice ordering services, which means that the so-called “rest of the world” will do the same, but, as usual, with some delay.
S – like Schedules
Scheduling is the daily nightmare of every store owner or manager, as well as those managing retail chains. Although the topic does not seem to be tempting at all, it is quite easy to see that there is great potential in it.
Ensuring continuity of shop operation requires very complex scheduling of personnel events. It’s no secret that work on the shop floor is often treated as casual, as it allows for reconciling professional work with other activities such as learning. As a result, filling several posts is a real challenge here and requires employing even a dozen people, and it becomes even impossible to put together a schedule, especially as days off, sick leaves, holidays, commercial and non-commercial Sundays or extended working hours must also be taken into account in one view. When we add the need to keep an eye on the dates of periodic examinations, health and safety training, sanitary and epidemiological examinations – it turns out that creating a schedule during the year requires planning hundreds of events for each of the tens, hundreds, and even thousands of employees. And that’s not the end of it – once a month, the hours worked by each employee should be accounted for, and several times a year, the employee should be granted leave and absences serviced.
The second area where scheduling is crucial is promotional campaigns. An ordinary convenience store operating on the network has such actions at least a few a week. This involves the need to issue promotional materials, new prices and tags on goods on a specific day, implement a new version of the planogram, replenish stock in the warehouse, document the completion of tasks – and then complete the campaign on a specific date.
The third area, just as inconspicuous at first glance, is the surveillance of periodic inspections. In a medium-sized 150 m2 store, there can be as many as several dozen of them every year: fire extinguishers, electrical installations, chimney, gas, ventilation, forklift trucks, elevators, anti-burglary systems, sanitary, heating and cooling installations – all of which require constant supervision.
What needs to be said straightforwardly and emphasized with a thick line is the fact that the technological offer in the scope described above is not very broad. For a single shop the staff scheduling area is well supported by PlanDay. All three groups of schedules are comprehensively supported by the mobile application ShopManager. Taking into account the complexity of these areas and the huge needs of the market in this area, it is an area that has a huge potential and can provide a technological advantage and thus be or not a brand.
I like IoT
The Internet of Things in shops is quite difficult to grasp, but the number of “talking” devices in the shop space is steadily increasing. It is still an area of only point-like innovations (such as beacons positioning customer’s place, smart baskets, clever shelves, or JustWalkOut Amazon’s solutions), but it has a huge potential, which will certainly not wait long before it is fully exploited. Although it is difficult to talk about a standardized platform here, the first cornerstones have been laid, if only because of the relatively new Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard.
The value of this market already reaches USD 15 billion, and is expected to double by 2025, according to analysts from Markets and markets.
Both the above and the previously discussed trends have the potential to change the retail industry beyond recognition. What will it be like? We will see it soon, but one thing is certain – the sooner we see it, the bigger piece of this cake we will get.
The author of the article is Bartłomiej Łatka, Expert in retail and logistics at Euvic IT.