With a record 7,000 store closings and 662 bankruptcy filings last year, and 3,800 closings (and counting) so far in 2018, the fate of retail continues to look uncertain. Take a look at Amazon to see how ecommerce has changed the retail landscape as we know it, leaving no industry undisrupted. With just a click of a mouse, customers can purchase whatever they want, whenever they want it -- and have it shipped directly to their door. Related: Here Are 6 Weird Ways You're Being Tracked in the Real World While ecommerce offers unprecedented convenience, this is not the end of the road for brick-and-mortar. Customers still value in-store experiences.
Over the course of the last few years, eCommerce has sprung up and put the brick-and-mortar side of the retail industry on notice. A growing number of eCommerce-focused merchants like Amazon have gradually increased their footprint in the physical store space. With the opening of the Amazon Go grocery store and bookstore in Seattle, Amazon is breathing innovation into the stodgy brick-and-mortar experience. It is also changing the retail game by eliminating the need for checkout stations through its artificial intelligence (AI) infused checkout system in its Amazon Go grocery store. In combination with its recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, it may be safe to assume that merchants in the retail space will follow Amazon's integration of more technology into the in-store experience.
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jan 12, 2017) - Cloverleaf, a retail technology company for the modern brick-and-mortar marketer and merchandiser, today announced shelfPoint, the industry's first dynamic shelf solution with built-in emotional artificial intelligence (Emotion AI) capabilities. With shelfPoint, brands and retailers can now capture customer engagement and sentiment data at the moment of purchase decision -- something previously unavailable in physical retail stores. Despite the rise of online shopping in recent years, Forrester1 predicts that 88% of purchases in 2017 will still be made in physical stores. Yet, retailers lack the in-the-moment tools necessary to captivate shoppers and gain insights that lead to sales uplift. While advancements in e-commerce analytics have upleveled marketers' understanding of consumer behaviors, brands and retailers still have little-to-no insight as to what happens in-store.
The key internal capabilities needed to ensure a successful digital shopping experience are personalization, automation and the unique identification of the customer across shopping channels. In this report, we discuss how AI and IoT are impacting the retail industry. Retailers that aim to remain competitive cannot afford to ignore the potential benefits of these technologies. AI, a technology that enables computers to make autonomous decisions, is a step forward in automation that is changing the retail industry. Retailers are using AI to analyze customer data, adapt how they interact with shoppers and predict demand in order to better manage inventory. Because consumers are bombarded with an unprecedented amount of information, being able to deliver highly personalized content for each individual customer is crucial to staying ahead of the competition. Meanwhile, the use of AI to anticipate demand and estimate when items will be returned should translate into more efficient business operations. Digitalization is the key that will unlock the future of brick-and-mortar retail, and the IoT is a crucial part of it.
The National Retail Federation's 2020 Big Show in New York was jam packed full of robots, frictionless store mock-ups, and audacious displays of the latest technology now available to retailers. Dozens of robots, digital signage tools, and more were available for retail representatives to test out, with hundreds of the biggest tech companies in attendance offering a bounty of eye-popping gadgets designed to increase efficiency and bring the wow factor back to brick-and-mortar stores. SEE: Artificial intelligence: A business leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the annual retail event. With the explosion in popularity of Amazon, Alibaba, and other e-commerce sites ready to deliver goods right to your door within days, many analysts and retailers figured the brick-and-mortar stores of the past were on their last legs. But it turns out billions of customers still want the personal, tailored touch of in-store experiences and are not ready to completely abandon physical retail outlets.