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4 technologies that will change the retail landscape forever

London - Fashion as we know it evolves every season. The zeitgeist determines the trends, directions and silhouettes that we have come to expect to be updated season after season, year after year. But while the essence of fashion and design is to embrace change, the retail industry has been slow to adapt where it too must embody change. This time in the form of technology and connecting with a more empowered consumer.

Over the next decade, technology will be a key driver in transforming the retail industry and the consumer shopping experience. That’s the view from the latest report by the World Economic Forum and Accenture called Shaping The Future of Retail for Consumer Industries.

Consumers are changing the retail landscape

Consumers are already helping to drive the changing retail landscape, writes Jamie Murray Wells, the Industry Head of Retail at Google UK. They are becoming accustomed to, and demand, a rapid and seamless service. Consumers are already experiencing this with some current service models such as Uber, Amazon and Deliveroo which have set the standard high for other retailers.

Murray Wells states there are four main technologies that are predicted to be the most transformational for retail and CPG industries over the next decade: The ‘internet of things’ will gather valuable consumer data to create personalised experiences in connected stores while also driving efficiencies in the supply chain.

Autonomous vehicles and drones will help to increase the speed of delivery, both to store and to the end consumer and will provide savings on labour costs.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable businesses to gather and analyse much more consumer data to help understand their purchase behaviour and buying patterns which in turn, will help retailers improve trend and volume forecasting;

Robotics will impact the retail sector via manufacturing, picking and packing in-store and through some in-store jobs such as shelf-stacking. Robotics will help to reduce costs and also free up staff to focus on consumers.

Connecting with an empowered consumer is a key driver

The key drivers of success over the next decade will be centred on building a deep understanding of and connection to the empowered consumer, promptly incorporating disruptive technologies, embracing transformative business models in both the of ine and online space, and establishing key capabilities.

These new and disruptive technologies will impact and improve the retail industry to ultimately benefit both the business and the consumer. But although the introduction of technology does offer exciting opportunities, it does also present some challenges. The investment in technology could be costly and businesses will have to ensure that they are realistic with their investments. They will also need to ensure that they have a motivated and skilled workforce who are trained to use the new tools and systems that will be introduced.

The full report highlights the game-changing technologies which will fundamentally change how retail and consumer brands do business over the next decade and shape new frontiers for physical stores, breakthrough approaches to e-commerce, new capabilities, and implications on society.

Photo credit:Shaping the Future of Retail for Consumer Industries report; article source: The Retail Gazette, WeForum.org