These two years have not been easy for retailers. While foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores was already declining even before the pandemic began, the lockdown measures have pushed more customers online. For retailers that don’t have an omnichannel presence, the results are terrible. A whopping 37% of respondents said they would be willing to shop online even after lockdown measures were lifted.

The sharp drop in demand (excluding necessities like groceries) has added to the woes for retailers, making it difficult for brick-and-mortar stores, especially smaller ones, to weather the storm — some of which have had to close their doors, and those that are still going strong will continue to face helpless challenges. So how do they maintain their business, workforce and income?

To provide answers, we identified trends in retail technology. In short: Implementing smart retail technology can make shopping safer, easier and more enjoyable. Such as implementing real-time marketing techniques. For retailers looking to impress customers with a seamless shopping experience and deliver timely, targeted information to them, beacons can be of great interest. One of the rapidly growing retail technology trends, beacon technology uses Bluetooth to transmit information to customers’ smartphones, enabling real-time marketing.

In this way, retailers can place beacons around brick-and-mortar stores to gather detailed information about customer activity to optimize their in-store experience and create highly personalized marketing campaigns.

Macy’s was one of the first chains to implement beacon technology in its retail stores. When a customer in Macy’s opens the brand’s mobile app, it records their exact location. For example, if a customer is in the beauty product section, the app can remind customers that a particular product has been added to their wish list before, and help navigate to where that product is located, or make a purchase with a customized offer prompt.

Retailers using beacon technology say the results are impressive. Early adopters of this innovative retail technology can increase profits by nearly 9% with a 175% ROI

The above use case proves it – the future of retail is digital. Today, the safe and convenient shopping journey is at the intersection of physical experience and digital technology. The benefits of adopting innovative technology in the retail industry are numerous, some of which are worth mentioning include:

1. Operate with leaner people. As of June 2020, 1.9 million retail store employees lost their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts believe the workforce could shrink further after the pandemic as retailers find they can’t pay the same number of people as in normal times. Retail technology innovations can alleviate labor shortages through task optimization and automation, and help increase employee productivity, helping retailers operate efficiently with leaner workforces.

2. Embrace omnichannel. In advanced economies, e-commerce’s market share and online spending have increased by 10% to 30% due to the pandemic, making omnichannel key to the industry’s survival. Taking advantage of retail technology trends, businesses can combine in-store and online sales to cater to a wider customer base.

3. Optimize spending. By taking a data-driven approach to storage and warehouse management, improving purchasing, optimizing inventory spending, and automating routine operations that previously required employees, retailers can reduce operating costs through innovative retail technologies.

4. Boost sales. Shoppers are willing to spend more for top-notch customer service. With sales analytics and in-store interaction technology, you can attract and retain more customers while keeping them safe.

So what does the future of retail technology look like?

The retail industry is going through huge changes. Retailers are expected to turn to digital means, leveraging retail technology trends to keep up with new customer habits and offer engaging experiential shopping. Unmanned supermarkets based on AI and speed gates are also gaining popularity.

As retail futurist Doug Stephens puts it, “Consumers are becoming more and more tech-savvy, and they will crave more and better brick-and-mortar retail experiences. So brick-and-mortar stores will need to seize the opportunity to bring consumers into stores. to deliver a superior and immersive in-store and product experience and strengthen the relationship with consumers.”