As technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous checkouts, and AR/VR sweep the globe, their effects can be felt deeply here in California’s retail market. Businesses and consumers both are adapting to this digital transformation, and regulators are racing to catch up as well.
Using the Power of AI for Data-Drive Decision-Making
One of the most valuable technologies shaping the California retail market is artificial intelligence. AI’s ability to analyze data quickly and draw conclusions from that data is extremely useful for retailers. Demand forecasting is one of the most useful applications of AI. This makes it possible to predict when consumers will want an item.
Businesses now have an opportunity to price their products competitively and restock in advance to prevent shortages.
Machine learning can also accelerate data processing speed and provide more accurate forecasting for retailers. With machine learning, predictions on how many of each product would be sold across various locations are possible. This information can be powerful for retail businesses, preparing them for waves of demand.
AI can help plan promotional pricing by modeling product price elasticity. This is how a price change impacts the product’s demand in the market. Alongside other factors, businesses can measure data with AI to come up with strategies to perform optimally.
For example, Comcash here in California has benefited from a SaaS ERP solution that uses AI and data science technologies. This enabled the company to automate their POS, accounting, and inventory management software and streamline their business processes.
In-Store Autonomous Checkouts
One of the most futuristic examples of shifting technologies is in-store autonomous checkouts. Stores like Amazon Go are some of the most popular examples where customers enter, grab what they need, and then leave. Their card is automatically charged for the items they walked out with.
Amazon Go is powered by numerous cameras and AI algorithms. Grabango is a California-based company founded in 2016 with a similar vision to Amazon Go. Stores powered by Grabango keep track of what you put in your cart. Before you leave, scanning your phone at the door allows the system to charge your card for the items in your cart.
While this may not be an option available to most businesses, there are some other ways to automate the checkout process. Beyond simple grab and scan self-checkouts, smart vending machines can be an option. A customer gives a machine their payment information, opens the door, takes out an item, and then closes the door.
Boosting Customer Experience with AR/VR
Enriching customer experiences is an important part of engaging retail clients. Since customers at home are less likely to make a purchase than ones in store, technologies like AR and VR are valuable opportunities for businesses to overcome this challenge. One of the most popular ways to use this technology is through “try before you buy”, such as clothes and furniture. Customers can use AR to see the items on themselves or in their environment through their phone or tablet’s screen.
VBuy is a California startup taking advantage of augmented reality. The company provides APIs to build try-on solutions for different categories of products.
AR/VR technology is the key to the growing trend of the metaverse. Metaverse application development allows you to provide an immersive experience for customers by blurring the line between the real and virtual worlds.
A Variety of Digital Payment Methods
For consumers and businesses alike, digital payment methods have exploded in popularity in recent years. According to Edvantis, 50% of US consumers in 2020 favored touchless payment options. Contactless payments are popular for convenience and due to public health concerns after the pandemic.
Retailers also now have access to technologies like PIN on Mobile, where consumer tablets or smartphones can be installed at checkouts to accept payments from customers. QR code payments as an easy-to-implement yet effective payment method are also on the rise, as is the introduction of crypto as a payment option. By providing customers with multiple ways to pay for their purchases, retailers lower barriers and make the shopping experience more flawless.
Future of Digital Retail
How technologies are implemented in retail will determine what the future has in store. By following best practices, retailers are doing the best they can to provide a great customer experience both online and in-store. This is why technology will increasingly penetrate point of sale, shopping processes will become smarter, and services will become more personalized. By enabling multi-channel services powered by technology, retailers can communicate with customers when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.
While retailers must overcome a number of challenges such as cultural change, lack of experience and investment in the face of these disruptive technologies, successful businesses will emerge as a leading force in California’s retail market.