Retail technology for 2015
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Commerce Anywhere Blog.
I’m avoiding the word "prediction" because that involves a little more precision than I’m capable of delivering. Instead I’ve listed the five big trends I think will dominate the retail technology landscape in 2015.
1. Payments Race
Granted, we’re in the era of internet time where everything moves faster, but let’s set expectations. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, MCX, Softcard, etc. are the start, not the end of the next generation of payments. I expect continued refinement for several years before we find "the winner." And don’t for a minute think the best technology will win. The best solution wins, and that includes compromises between consumers, banks and merchants.
2. Home Automation
The Nest thermostat was just the start, and Rosie is somewhere towards the end. We’re going to see a plethora of connected devices for the home, ones that retailers will sell and ones that will help retailers sell. Amazon’s Echo and Dash are great examples of removing shopping friction when replenishing the cupboards. Soon our homes will know what they need and parts of our shopping list will be automated.
3. Fast Delivery
At one end of the spectrum you have the prospect of delivery by drones, and at the other end you have 3D printers waiting to create on-demand. The short-term answer to delivering products faster is probably in the middle, borrowing from the likes of Kiva and Uber. The first half of the solution lies with efficient fulfillment. Sometimes that means pick and ship from stores, sometimes it means centrally located dark stores, and often it means automating the warehouse. But accurately promising, picking, and packing solves only the first half of the journey.
4. In-store Personalized Experience
Personalized experience at scale is the goal. The "at scale" part tends to exclude expensive staff, so technology is expected to step in with intelligent automation. Technologies like geo-fencing, marketing automation, BLE beacons, data as a service, and video analytics all have a place in the solution. Retailers will continue to experiment with helpful ways to interact with consumers, being the butler instead of the stalker. Payment, loyalty programs and marketing will converge on the smartphone, and bring many web innovations to in-store shopping.
5. Data Theft
Organized crime has gone from spam, to malware, to outright data theft. Until the credit card industry fixes the inherent and obvious flaws in their payment ecosystems, hackers will continue to attack retailers. EMV is a step in the right direction, but its only a partial solution. Tokenization and end-to-end encryption are necessary and will finally be implemented in several industries. Data theft will get worse before it gets better, but no one is going back to cash.
Which retail technology trends do you see getting the most buzz in 2015? Will other trends have a greater impact than those mentioned in the article?