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Emerging technologies changing the retail landscape Anurag Rana, Seema Shah, Poonam Goyal Bloomberg Intelligence Analysts
Robots, hackers, Amazon and the cloud are revolutionizing retail
From cloud computing to data analytics, emerging technologies are driving major changes in the retail industry. Same-day delivery by Amazon.com and its e-commerce peers poses a huge challenge to the incumbents, and historically brick-and-mortar retailers are aggressively adopting advanced security measures, analytics, robotics, mobile solutions and connected devices to bolster sales and supply chains to counter the threat. That’s driving growth for tech companies, particularly software and IT services providers.
Retailers are embracing robots to speed fulfillment, boost sales
The declining cost of sensors and data storage, along with the ubiquity of wireless networks, is speeding the proliferation of connected devices among retailers. This growth in the Internet of Things, coupled with advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, is creating new uses for robotics in the industry. They’re being used to replenish inventory, both inside the store and in the warehouse, and to improve the customer experience inside the store, driving sales.
70% of Apple, Amazon and Target customers shop via mobile app
Retailers must continue to invest in mobile apps by improving the shopping experience as consumers spend more time browsing on the mobile device. Amazon’s 175 million unique visitors, the most among e-commerce sites, come via desktop, mobile or both, according to a March ComScore survey. For Apple, 99% of shoppers’ time is spent on mobile browsing. Target is also making investments in mobile, offering Cartwheel, a coupon app that helps shoppers save money.
Unique Visitors by Platform & Time Spent on App
Macy’s same-day shipping edge arises from early IT investment
Same-day delivery should help increase market share for retailers that offer it. Macy’s has expanded its same day shipping offer to 17 U.S. markets, up from eight last year, to meet growing demand. Same-day delivery is possible for Macy’s because of earlier investments made to its inventory management systems, which operate seamlessly between stores and online. Rival retailers are still investing in their systems and offer the ability to buy online and pick up in-store as an alternative to same-day shipping.
Select comfort mattress sleep analytics build loyalty and sales
Select Comfort’s SleepIQ technology uses sensors within its mattresses to track and analyze sleep habits, allowing users to better understand how sleep is affecting other aspects of their lives. Growing consumer interest in health and quality sleep places a premium on this type of personalization, endearing the brand to users and building loyalty. Repeat customers already account for 30% of Select Comfort’s sales, which it hopes to expand through its new line of children’s mattresses.
Apple, Intel’s data encryption helps retailers improve security
Increasingly frequent cyber-attacks are forcing retailers to adopt emerging security technologies to protect their networks and customer data. They include tokenization, end-to-end encryption, virtual security appliances and greater safeguards in the cloud and for mobile devices. Retailers are also increasing use of security-as-a-service to monitor advanced threats that cannot be detected through traditional firewall and signature-based techniques.
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