Technology’s Transformative Effect on the Retail Industry


Today’s retailers are becoming increasingly innovative as they incorporate technology into brick and mortar stores. For instance, omnichannel retail, which reflects a fully-integrated approach to commerce and connects with consumers via multiple channels, requires extensive technology and logistical planning to be successful.

Retailers, eager to compete in a competitive marketplace, are now implementing an array of new technologies to enhance the customer experience.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is drawing from the data collected on each shopper and analyzing it in order to make improvements to the in-store shopping experience.  Simultaneously, AI is tracking store inventory to better assist the logistics team and ensure proper quantities of items are readily available.

Customer data and real-time analytics collected through AI can be a tremendous help to in-store associates. Not only can this data help employees better manage scheduling and inventory, but it can provide customer profiles that indicate product preferences and what customers are most likely to purchase based on their personal history.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are also being used in stores as a creative way to interact with customers.  With AR and VR technologies, some stores are showcasing smart mirrors that allow customers to try on clothes and makeup through overlays.  A similar type of technology is being included in-store apps.  For example, Gymboree is in the midst of a brand relaunch, and it designed its new app, “Made You Smile,” with AR technology so customers can “try on” their newest line.

As the technological shift in the retail industry continues, there will be even greater changes in stores.  Data collected by retailers — whether it is how many customers are in the store at a given time, what items are most popular or need replenishment, or the frequency of registered customers coming into the store – will offer key insights that affect both strategy and space usage.  Apps will become increasingly popular as buyers use them to virtually try on exactly what they are looking for and know immediately if their size is available.

The merger between technology and logistics will enable retailers to better serve customers in real time.  It also will ensure that customers’ expectations are met and their shopping experiences are positive ones.

Corporate Property Dispositions, a leading real estate advisory firm founded in 2003, works in partnership with companies to divest their surplus commercial properties. With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, our skilled professionals provide clients with the knowledge, key information and guidance needed to make informed decisions regarding their real estate portfolio. Our strategic counsel and results-driven approach converts our clients’ potential property value into delivered value.

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