Technological advances are creating unprecedented changes across consumer-facing industries. This report provides a holistic view of retail tech adoption, exploring technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality and automation. It identifies the consumer preferences influencing shopping behaviour, and the factors pushing industry innovation to understand where retailers should be making their tech investments in 2021 and beyond.
With consumers reducing time in store due to safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing reliance on technology has become that much more apparent. Technological investments are being used to reinvent all aspects of the retail experience, including online discovery, digital payments, delivery and collection, and the in-store experience.
One of the most profound changes unfolding in commerce is the digital shift, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. With consumers shopping online more than ever before, companies are seeking to improve these experiences, which thus far have focused on initiatives that are more foundational in nature.
The pandemic prompted some retailers to adopt contactless options to reduce the risk of virus transmission, which included pushing the launch or expansion of digital payment options to help facilitate both in-store and online transactions. More futuristic payments experiences, which may use blockchain, virtual reality or virtual assistants, remain far off propositions.
The last mile experience is facing its day of reckoning as e-commerce grows rapidly. Last mile reinvention has emerged as a top initiative for many retailers. Global retail professionals view both the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve fulfilment and logistics as promising.
The role of stores is shifting as more commerce moves to digital channels. While attention is currently focused on e-commerce, one third of global retail professionals surveyed believe COVID-19 will accelerate initiatives to enhance the in-store experience, too.
Sales of new and used goods to the general public for personal or household consumption. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts, fuel. Also excludes foodservice, rental and hire and wholesale industries (Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retailing is the aggregation of Store-based retailing and Non-store retailing. Retailing excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, ie retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer which is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retailing. In relation to click and collect purchases (i.e. where purchases are made over the internet but picked up at store) where the sales data is attributed depends on where the payment is made: If payment is made in store, then the sale is included in store-based sales. If payment is made over the internet, then the sale is included in internet retailing.See All of Our Definitions
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