Skip to main content

Select your location

Top trends and technologies unifying the retail experience

Brad Koszuta, Mona Champaneri
Infographic demonstrating online purchasing

Putting the cart before the store

Retail is more than transactions; it is a complex web of connected experiences. Loyalty programs, order fulfillment, web design, customer service, chatbots, analytics, and digital ads are just some of the endless capabilities needed to meet the increasingly high expectations of today's retail consumers.

Behind every purchasing decision are many seemingly insignificant considerations that influence you to click-buy: your past experiences, branding and packaging, who endorses the product, how it's merchandised and what it is paired with, your surroundings, and the way the product and or company makes you feel.

A well-orchestrated retail experience considers all of the above and makes the complexity seem seamless. To accomplish this, an organization must unify its digital experience, technology, and data. At this intersection lies a world of endless possibilities for innovation.

The key areas of focus for retailers looking to simplify their complex web of experiences and unify capabilities to transform the world of retail services for tomorrow are the following: 

  1. Focus on data foundations
  2. Optimize the digital experience 
  3. Never lose sight of customer expectations 
  4. Pair in-store with the online experience
  5. Build composable architecture

1. Focus on data foundations

While the world is hyper-focused on GenAI and automation, many organizations will fall behind the trend because none of these technologies are possible without a solid underlying data foundation. 

Investing in data allows retailers to drive operational efficiencies, target customers more accurately, and create a hyper-personalized shopping experience. Once data foundations have been established, data opportunities lie within the following areas:

  • Supply chain management – Leveraging customer data can help forecast demand and create an optimal view of inventory to ensures supply can meet the demand and expectations of customers. These expectations are in line with the rapid delivery and transparency in the supply chain.
  • AI customer support and service – Leveraging Contact Center AI in the right way during a sale or a support process allows retailers to extend the brand experience. 

    Leveraging Conversational AI over chatbots provides an opportunity to engage with customers in a personalized, efficient, and scalable way to make a significant impact on the behavior of the customer.  The savvy consumer now expects to interact with intelligent bots who can efficiently understand and resolve their issues versus extended calls with customer service representatives.

    Over time, collecting and analyzing customer engagement and feedback during these support experiences identifies common issues and pain points, enabling organizations to continually improve service and support.

2. Optimize the digital experience

Use your digital tools and capabilities to increase velocity, visibility, and growth. When processes, systems, and business models are improved, organizations can surface key insights, allowing them to take the appropriate actions to deliver the desired outcomes

Improve the customer experience with:

  • Search – Retail search technology is changing, and Google’s new Cloud Retail Search (CRS) product is leading the way. With a fully managed, rules-free, global SaaS platform and a deep understanding of retailer data and site interactions, Google CRS is able to deliver query understanding and results relevancy that not only delight your customers but also drive key performance metrics for your business.
  • Price optimization and demand forecasting – Retailers can achieve significantly more automation and subsequently drive up customer experience through the use of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) to transform the buyer's journey. Data cloud can provide visibility to navigate the tumultuous supply chain and inflation wave that are spreading globally. Equipping customers with timely and accurate pricing and demand forecasting is proven to not only drive purchase ease but also yield high-quality and recurring sales.
  • Predictive technology –  Machine learning models can analyze customer behavior, preferences, and purchase history to recommend products most likely to interest a particular consumer. Accurate product recommendations stimulate demand, increase the average order value, and increase the conversion rate while actively engaging users. 

    Product discovery is just one side of the coin; with the use of AI and chatbots, brands can better and more accurately provide sizing recommendations, resulting in happier customers and fewer returns.
  • Sustainability metrics and accountability – By utilizing data collection tools and software, retailers can effectively track sustainability metrics such as carbon footprint, energy consumption, waste management, and responsible sourcing. To showcase these metrics to customers, retailers can incorporate sustainability information on product packaging, labels, or tags, highlighting eco-friendly attributes, certifications, or environmental impact indicators. 

    They can also leverage digital platforms, such as websites or mobile apps, to provide detailed sustainability reports, information about their sustainability initiatives, and transparent supply chain practices. By proactively sharing sustainability metrics with customers, retailers can foster trust, raise awareness, and encourage environmentally conscious purchasing decisions.

3. Never lose sight of customer expectations

Attract and retain customers through intelligent experiences that can adapt with their needs. Preferences are constantly changing, and retailers need to stay up to date with the latest trends to remain relevant. 

This includes shifts in consumer demand for sustainability, convenience, and personalization.

Your customers are interested in:

  • Sustainability – The new luxury in retail. Younger consumers are increasingly conscious of what they buy, where they buy it, and who they buy it from. From the impact of your digital estate, the carbon footprint of your products and shipping materials, sustainability has become a factor that could determine competitive differentiation.
  • Loyalty –  Data-driven personalization builds long-term loyalty to take users from anonymous to advocates. Analyzing customer data to personalize marketing messages, product recommendations, and promotions is not a new concept for retailers. The key is these actions take place at the right time in the customer journey. Giving a nudge while consumers are browsing or providing loyalty offers at opportune times can make all the difference.
  • Personalization – Generative AI will unlock the potential for personalization. Product discovery and information discovery can be greatly improved with this technology, resulting in a better experience. Instead of hunting and pecking through what is now a very noisy and not very good UX, customers can more easily find what they are looking for. AI will also take organizations beyond just products, personalizing the commerce experience with unique offers, brand imagery, and more. 

4. Pair In-store with the online experience

Orchestrate a complete end-to-end journey for each customer that adds value at every interaction and drives intent through seamlessly connected experiences in both the physical and digital worlds.

Blend your physical and digital brand identities through: 

  • In-store analytics –  By leveraging advanced technologies such as sensors, cameras, and Wi-Fi tracking, retailers can capture valuable data about customer behavior, traffic patterns, and engagement within the physical store environment. This data can be analyzed to identify areas for improvement, optimize store layouts, and enhance product placement strategies.

    In-store analytics also enable retailers to understand customer preferences and tailor their offerings accordingly, leading to personalized recommendations, targeted promotions, and a more relevant product assortment. 

    By gaining insights into customer behavior and preferences, retailers can optimize staffing levels, improve customer service, and provide a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. Ultimately, in-store analytics empower retailers to make data-driven decisions that drive sales, boost customer satisfaction, and build long-term loyalty.
  • Customer journey orchestration – Predictive analytics play a vital role in helping retailers merge their online and in-store experiences seamlessly. By analyzing vast amounts of customer data from various sources, including online browsing behavior, purchase history, social media interactions, and in-store transactions, retailers can gain valuable insights into customer preferences, trends, and buying patterns. 

    This information enables them to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized experiences across all channels. Predictive analytics can help retailers optimize inventory management, ensuring that popular products are available both online and in-store, thus reducing the occurrence of being out of stock or overstocking. 

    Additionally, by accurately forecasting demand, retailers can offer targeted promotions, personalized recommendations, and tailored marketing campaigns to enhance customer engagement and drive sales. Overall, predictive analytics empowers retailers to provide a unified and exceptional customer experience, bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping.

5. Build composable architecture

When referring to commerce platforms, MACH is generally what is used. MACH is an acronym that stands for Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless. It’s employed to build flexible and scalable digital experiences. Rather than looking for a single vendor to deliver the business needs on a single platform, organizations can take individual pieces of technology that are valuable to the business to create their ultimate experience. 

This enables organizations to deliver personalized and omnichannel experiences to their customers, allowing them to adapt quickly to changes in the industry and customer demands. MACH solutions are the way of the future for digital experience delivery, increasing conversions, improving traffic flow, and better serving customers.

Benefits of MACH include:

  • Speed – MACH tools are cloud-native, saving time on infrastructure-related elements. They employ powerful static rendering, which enables lightning-quick delivery, providing a significant uplift in performance.
  • Security – Composable technology offers powerful new ways to combat security threats and provide more secure digital experiences for brands and customers alike. In many cases, this significantly reduces security vulnerabilities. 
  • Flexibility and adaptability – MACH gives you the freedom to make changes without impacting the rest of your tech stack. It allows you to incorporate new, innovative capabilities and features without requiring an investment in rewriting and architecting the codebase. 
  • Best in class components – Since each component is an independent element of the overall solution, switching from one element to another is as simple as replacing the component. This allows organizations to select the best-in-class for each feature and capability, uniquely tuned to the organization's needs.

It’s a meaningful and memorable experience that fosters genuine connections between customers and brands.

By combining deep customer insight, sector expertise, and divergent technology-inspired thinking, our teams at Kin + Carta help you exceed those expectations by reimagining and rebuilding your customers experiences.


Share this article

Show me all