The need for retail organizations to modernize their digital computing environment requires technology investments that innovate and streamline business processes. Ensuring digital effectiveness requires customer experiences that are engaging throughout the entire customer journey and convert to greatest potential. Modernizing the digital business and technology environment in a way that impacts commerce and product experience is essential for the supply chain and resulting revenue. To unify its processes and promote workforce readiness, retail organizations should enrich their applications with personalized agent and customer service interactions and utilize human capital management (HCM) systems to ensure that the needs of every employee are met.
An important technology trend in the retail industry is streamlining the digital payment process to make checkout more flexible and efficient across all methods of payment. Paying for purchases beyond cash or credit is steadily increasing in popularity. Customers, especially younger generations, now prefer to use their mobile device, tap-to-pay options, installment agreements and other options. Digitally connecting mobile and web experiences in a secure manner will improve the purchasing and payment experiences.
Another trend is the utilization of “headless” digital platforms. These platforms can be accessed via API and use low- and no code-development methods. Headless software architecture separates what the customer sees in the digital experience from the platform and core functions such as products, payments, security and inventory. This approach works particularly well with digital commerce and products where unique experiences are necessary while integrating with existing platforms that have necessary and leveraged value.
The final highlighted technology trend is augmented and virtual reality that enables buyers to have a more connected, human experience with products they are evaluating for purchase. With modern mobile devices, customers now have the ability to virtually see and try-on clothes, place furniture in a house and experience driving a vehicle, to name a few. Configured product evaluations such as these are available remotely or in-store and can help guide purchase decision making. This easily acquired technology can be layered into existing commerce platforms to enrich the shopping experience.
The retail industry is working through a portfolio of investments to ensure the technology across the enterprise incorporates the necessary intelligence to better reach consumers. Utilizing modern technological approaches should provide a higher level of workforce effectiveness for those who lack experience working in retail process applications. Differentiating commerce and product experiences requires retail organizations to reexamine existing approaches that are not designed with customer experience, retention and revenue optimization in mind. By 2026, three-quarters of retail organizations will engage stakeholders influencing customer experience software buying decisions, resulting in greater accountability and better resource allocation.
Retail organizations should assess existing technology investments and their organizational readiness to meet the heightened pressure to develop more engaging customer and product experiences at every point of interaction. The new generation of digital platforms designed around engaging customers in commerce are essential to strategic advancement. Ventana Research recommends that retail organizations dramatically shift their technology investments to more agile and modern digital and cloud architectures that support the consumer and unify customer-to-supply chain efforts.