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Trends in retail are characterized by a shift from hype to maturity, retailers are using new technologies with a clearer business focus. Technologies that have previously been considered in a marketing and experimentation context are increasingly being used to create concrete commercial value.
The main changes that the retail sector has undergone recently can be summarized as follows:
Here's an overview and illustration of the relevant trends around the Retail Sector, based on their appearance in trade media, mass media, patents and scientific publications.
The arrow in the illustration above implies a typical trend development and a life cycle from a small and growing trend – which is discussed in relatively few scientific articles and publications – to a larger, established trend with stagnating growth, which has long been discussed in various media and has shifted from niche circles into the mainstream.
Virtual reality shopping is giving consumers the convenience of online shopping and the experience of being in a store at the same time – in order to experience stores, products and service in a whole new way. With the help of VR or AR applications customers will be able to try and test products – at home or in-store – more easily, and in a more personalized or gamified manner. Virtual reality technology will play a secondary role, while augmented reality apps will continue being the forefront, according to Stewart Rogers, author and analyst at VentureBeat. In his opinion, "dealers who don't discover mobile AR for themselves within the next six months will lose ground".
The exponential growth of data is forcing companies to find fast and efficient ways to process and analyze them. By turning relevant data into useful insights, companies could come up with tailored solutions for internal processes and their customers alike. Having data-driven strategies via advanced business analytics, operational intelligence and machine learning, is a must for companies to preserve and leverage their position. The biggest players in the market are right now Nvidia, Google and Sentient, but some trending players are already on their heels: Cambricon, Cerebras and ByteDance.
The smartphone already allows us to take the digital world everywhere we go, leaving just a few taps on a touch screen between us and the real immersion. Now, human-centered interfaces such as voice and gesture-controlled digital assistants are removing this last barrier and leading into an era of a much more natural form of communication between humans and machines. In retail, this transformation will significantly alleviate obstacles within the customer experience, speed up communication and information access, and enable far more intimate and emotional customer relationships.
The era of “New Retail” that Alibaba founder Jack Ma envisioned is a seamless fusion of offline POS, digital technologies and next-level logistics for a dynamic new retail world supported by mobile online payment. China's e-commerce platforms are evolving into a new world order of retail, and their primary currency is data. Among the booming trends in Chinese retail are new payment methods. Chinese stores and services are increasingly centered around mobile payment apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay.
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