It’s the beginning of the year, which means retail experts are looking into their crystal ball telling store owners what to expect in the coming year. One of the more surprising predictions came from Forrester, the analyst group, which expects that 75% of US sales will take place offline.
For predictions like that to come true, retailers need a solid strategy and the right tools to deliver online experiences in physical stores. Fortunately, that plays directly into the Smart Cart’s strengths. We look at three key retail trends experts expect to see and look at how Shopic’s Smart Cart can help retailers bring those predictions to fruition.
If brick & mortar retailers play their cards right, they are set up for consumers to return to their aisles. However, they will need to demonstrate to consumers that they can offer an online-like digital experience to their shoppers.
Consumers have come to enjoy the experience that online ordering offers. Shopping online means no lines, easy payment options, and personalized offers and discounts that take into account their past history and preferences.
Physical retailers can use smart carts to provide similar perks. Shoppers can skip the lines with smart carts, paying directly on the cart or through a fast-tracked processing area where they can get out fast. Smart carts also enable consumers to receive customized offers based on the items in their cart or previous shopping trips.
The Shopic smart cart is delivering on customer expectations. An astounding 96% of consumers say the cart is easy to use, and over 85% give it a high shopper satisfaction score. Experiences like these encourage customers to shop in-store, where they don't have to wait for their products to be shipped.
The Great Resignation led to a shortage of workers in all sectors, including retail. Shannon Warner, a consultant for Kearney, told the Washington Post that retailers “don’t have enough people to staff the full hours that they have historically had.”
This shortage is impacting retailers in different ways. Some are trying to stretch staff, while others are cutting down on store hours.
Technology and automation can reduce the pressure on staff, which is where the Smart Cart fits in. Smart carts help alleviate the labor shortage in two distinct yet important ways.
First, they reduce the need for checkout clerks. Rather than have half a dozen employees checking customers out, they can rely on one area manager to oversee customers paying with their smart cart.
Second, they can take the employees that they do have and offer more compelling roles than running item after item over a scanner. Employees can be trained to work the aisles in stores and help customers find the merchandise they are looking for.
Shelley Kohan, senior contributor to Forbes, identified Retail Media Networks as the biggest trend hitting retail over the next 12 months. Walmart saw over $2B in revenue from retail media in 2021, and the overall market is expected to grow by 38% in 2023.
Creating retail advertising spaces is crucial to opening and unlocking this revenue stream, and smart carts are ideal for placing these ads.
In addition to their digital screen, smart carts can display ads based on geo-location. As the cart snakes through the aisles, the ad server can use bidding tools and contextual shopper data to display ads in a way that maximizes revenue for the retailer.
2023 is looking to be one of the more interesting years for retailers. Changing consumer habits, evolving technology, and retail stores as fulfillment centers are a few more ways retail is changing to meet consumer needs. Smart carts are a key component in the retail industry, and are positioned to help bring on more change in the years ahead.