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Top 4 Retail Tech Trends to Watch in 2018
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The retail industry has been one of the top industries to adapt quickly to the evolving technologies in the past years.

As the disruption continues, we will see an exciting tech landscape in retail in 2018 and beyond. Regardless if the retailers adopt the evolving retail tech trends or not, they need to know the trends in order not to get left behind.
With the participation of more than 35,000 retail industry experts, the NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show which was held in New York City earlier this year has revealed the top trends that will dominate the landscape throughout 2018. According to the experts and analysts, while personalization keeps being the most important trend of all, adoption of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, advanced use of data and analytics will likely be the other retail tech trends to watch.

1. Personalization will remain as the key to improved customer experience

This concept has always been important in the retail industry. It was a little easier back in the day when all shopping was only in-store shopping. However, with the rise of online shopping, retailers have been using online personalization for years. This year, retailers will master the personalized approach by leveraging CRM and marketing automation tools, analytics, mobile applications, chatbots, and more.

2. Artificial Intelligence will gain more importance

Artificial intelligence (AI), especially when combined with machine learning, can be leveraged to solve several problems and increase revenue in both online and physical stores. For example, AI systems can be used for supply chain/inventory management, chatbots, analysis of the factors that affect in-store experience such as the layout, colors, music, temperature, and more. Although AI has the ability to process data more efficiently than humans can ever do, it cannot replace human decision making. It uncovers valuable insights that allow humans to make proactive decisions.

3. Internet of Things will improve supply chain management

According to several experts and analysts, Internet of Things has still a lot of room to grow in the retail industry. Based on IDC’s recent survey, many retailers plan to invest in IoT solutions in 2018 and 2019. The goal for retailers is to achieve better inventory management and provide easy checkout solutions. Offering an omnichannel experience to every customer is crucial for retailers, and IoT solutions play a pivotal role in delivering it.

4. Prescriptive Analytics will be the game changer

Predictive analytics provide insights on the possible outcomes from specific actions. Prescriptive analytics provide recommendations on what to do next. The analysis of the vast amount of data can provide a massive advantage for retailers if they know how to benefit from it in 2018. According to recent research conducted by Forrester, prescriptive analytics will overtake predictive analytics as one of the top 2018 retail tech trends.
To conclude, it all comes down to providing the best customer experience to the customers. The growth potential is almost limitless for retailers if they choose the right solutions for their businesses. Amongst all, data and analytics gaining actionable insights to make better decisions – will be the key to stay ahead of the competition.

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    About The Author
    Tracy Gardner
    Tracy joined VLink in Aug 2020 from Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut, where she served as Director of Major Gifts and Business Development. Prior to Easterseals, she launched an award-winning community magazine in Avon, CT. She also served as a content mentor, coach, and director for N2 Publishing. A former journalist, Tracy worked as a News Anchor/Reporter for many years in various U.S. markets.

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