High-end technologies in e-commerce (drones, VR, etc.)February 27th, 2018
Brick and mortar sales and results reached their lowest point in 2017. Nearly 7,000 stores across the US closed up last year, which is 200% more than in 2016. The main reason for this new worst record is that brick and mortar stores can no longer meet the demands and needs of their customers who are empowered by a growing choice of new technologies and easy access to any kind of products and services they need online.
For retailers and brands which are looking for ways to survive and increase their sales in 2018, here are some of the technological innovations which can help:
Artificial Intelligence has quickly become one of the leading tech developments in business in the last few years, due to its ability to convert large volumes of diverse data into enriched one which helps boost the speed and flexibility and lower the costs across the value chain.
The machine learning market is expected to reach $39.5 billion by 2020. It is considered of ultimate importance for the future of e-commerce and especially for the fashion industry. This is due to the fact that AI can help retailers and brands with merchandising, capacitive planning and predictive forecasting which can help meet the demand of consumers for certain products and ensure faster and more accurate deliveries. AI technology can help reduce errors in forecasting and allow for 20-50 inventory reductions. It can also help improve the customer browser process and personalize their shopping experience.
Customers can get more precise search results and be presented with personalized virtual storefronts for an improved shopping experience.
Augmented reality is no longer simply a novelty technology. Currently it is seen as a sales tool which can help resolve problems in the retail industry as well. Unlike virtual reality, AR does not require expensive and special hardware and is easy to adopt as a useful sales tool. More than 300 mobile phones and devices worldwide with AR capabilities and expectations are that they will grow to up to 1 billion by the end of 2018 especially given that the expected ARCore Google AR software is expected to go online soon.
The biggest advantage of AR for online stores is that it eliminates the need of actual physical testing of the products in brick and mortar stores, and is a much more convenient option for online shoppers. Already there are many AR based apps which allow customers to test and personalize the products they are interested in online and a boost of sales made via these apps is already evident.
The utilization of drones by the retail giants and smaller e-commerce companies is expected to spread its wings in 2018. With the costs of drones falling and at the same time their technology improving, there is no doubt that they will soon hit the mainstream and become everyday tools for shipment deliveries of all kind of products. Plus, the laws on the use of drones have become much more liberal in the US and elsewhere which means that pretty soon you may start receiving your online purchases by a drone.
The use of drones by retailers will save them the costs for hiring drivers, purchasing delivery vehicles or using third party delivery services. The fuel and other delivery costs will be much lower especially for customers located in remote locations.
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