In the ever-changing world of retail customer experience, there are always emerging buzzwords in the industry. Here’s a look at the top 10.
The retail world is full of buzzwords, from omnichannel and consumer to phygital retail and, more recently, metaverse.
Additionally, the CX Retail Dictionary is continually expanding as technology advances, adding new terms and phrases as they emerge.
Retailers and brands need to keep up with the trends and technologies impacting retail today in order to stay relevant. Here is a list of the top 10 buzzwords and technologies driving technological innovation in modern retail.
Microservices Architecture #1
Understanding microservices architecture starts with understanding how the traditional monolithic architecture works. Essentially, the latter integrates the functionality of multiple business components into a tightly coupled standalone application. At first glance, such an architecture seems simple to integrate and operate, but it has two major drawbacks. First, it is a highly interconnected structure. This means that if one component fails, the whole system fails. Additionally, updating legacy systems can be extremely time-consuming and expensive.
With microservices architecture, you take a modular approach, which separates each component of your business functionality, allowing each to be developed, deployed, and managed independently. When operational, each component is largely self-contained but is also able to communicate and integrate with others. Such an approach allows seamless integration and removal of modules, as needed, with little or no impact on unrelated modules within the architecture. Although the process of developing such a system can be quite complex, the architecture itself is highly capable, scalable, reliable, and more secure.
Under the umbrella of microservices, headless architecture is another term that is gaining popularity with the rise of e-commerce. The term refers to the decoupling of front-end user experience from back-end e-commerce interactions. This gives retailers the freedom to use any front-end technology that helps them deliver the content experiences they prefer. They can, however, integrate it seamlessly with an e-commerce solution that handles the commerce function independently.
#2 Endless Alleys
Endless aisles are an evolving concept in retail. It is about showcasing the full range of products from retailers to shoppers using digital devices such as touch screens and mobile devices in physical stores.
By using this method, retailers are no longer required to have every item on display or even in stock. Giving shoppers the ability to browse your entire inventory using a single device, they can simply purchase the item in-store, and if it’s not available, the item can be shipped to them or to the store for later collection.
No. 3 Customers
Clienteling is a sales technique that uses data to build long-term relationships with customers. It works by first collecting data regarding all aspects of a customer’s buying behavior, including past purchases, preferences, interests, and product knowledge.
Salespeople and other customer-facing staff then use this data to provide customers with a truly personalized shopping experience, often using a purpose-built in-store app. By doing so, a retailer is able to improve the overall shopping experience of the customer, not only keeping them coming back, but also turning them into an outspoken advocate for your brand.
No. 4 Big Data
True to its name, big data refers to sets of data so large that it takes sophisticated programs to understand their meaning. It is in fact the convergence of massive amounts of data from all possible sources within the company and even beyond. While previously confined to the realm of technology, retailers have realized the power of big data and how it can be used to better understand business operations, store conditions, customer behaviors, etc
Big Data goes far beyond standard retail statistics such as total sales, inventory, marketing and prices. When you examine big data, you see real-time information from across the supply chain and product lifecycle. It includes detailed information on store engagement, point of sale programs, online sales, distribution, inventory management, information on individual stores across all regions and more. It is also used in the analysis of customer behavior across all touchpoints, considering demographics, social factors, and timing, among others.
It takes a lot of time and effort to analyze this data, but if done correctly, it can help retailers connect with consumers in a much more meaningful way. This gives them the information they need to personalize each customer’s experience, optimize pricing, streamline back-office operations, and even predict consumer behavior.
#5 Brick and Click
This term is mostly related to retailers that operate both physical websites and e-commerce websites. It is an omnichannel retail strategy that seamlessly integrates a retailer’s physical stores with their online counterparts.
There are several brick and click strategies that can be implemented, each providing customers with greater flexibility and freedom in their purchases. Two of the most common are buy online, return in store, and buy online and pick up in store. As its name suggests, with BORIS, the customer makes their purchase online and has it shipped. However, if they wish to return the item, they can do so at a physical store. Similarly, with BOPIS, customers buy the products online but pick them up in-store in person.
Buy online, ship to store is another popular method. This is a subset of BOPIS, where a customer purchases a product online but instead of having it shipped to their home, they instead choose to have it shipped to the retailer’s physical store. The customer is then notified when the item is ready for collection.
No. 6 Contactless payments
Often referred to as “Tap to Pay”, contactless payments use radio frequency identification and near field communication technology to make transactions much faster, easier and more secure. To initiate a payment, customers simply place the payment device of their choice within four inches of the POS system. The two devices then communicate seamlessly with each other to complete the transaction in seconds.
There are three types of contactless payment methods available to the average consumer, including NFC-enabled credit and debit cards, mobile wallets used through NFC-enabled smart devices, and wearables such as smartwatches.
#7 Omnichannel Retail
In today’s interconnected world, it’s critical to keep consumers engaged across multiple touchpoints and platforms. These include everything from physical stores, mobile devices, online, at events, social commerce channels and beyond.
However, it is not enough to have your products and services available on these channels. To be considered a true omnichannel retailer, sales platforms must be fully integrated and operate simultaneously to provide customers with a completely seamless and personal shopping experience.
No. 8 Phygital Trade
Phygital is a retail buzzword that gained popularity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It describes the mixing of digital experiences with physical experiences. Think of it as an extension of omnichannel retail, but with a greater focus on customer experience.
There is no single technique or method that encompasses phygital retail; rather, it is the act of augmenting physical in-store experiences with digital enhancements and vice versa.
#9 Mass Personalization
Mass customization is the process by which manufacturers, retailers, or brands can offer consumers the ability to create their own personalized products and experiences while maintaining the efficiency of low-cost, high-volume production.
It works by offering flexible modules that can be freely mixed and matched. Depending on the product, these can include different sizes, shapes and colors that combine to create a unique end product for each customer. Then the order is introduced into the mass production pipeline, created and delivered to the customer. This freedom for customers to freely customize a product to their liking is often enough to encourage them to choose one brand over another.
Chances are if you ask people what the metaverse is, they’ll each give you a different answer. This is because the Metaverse, even as a concept, is still being developed and phased out. On the surface, you could describe it as a virtual, immersive world that offers unparalleled interpersonal experiences.
Right now, the closest we have to a working metaverse is found almost exclusively in the gaming world with VR social experiences like VR chat.
However, there is little doubt about the potential it holds for retail. Virtual and augmented reality technology is likely to replace existing forms of social media as it becomes more advanced and becomes more accessible and affordable to the public. By using such technology, brands and retailers can ultimately offer online shoppers an experience that can easily rival physical stores, without ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes.