Technology Innovation:Driving Growth in Retail

Global retail models are changing, and advances in technology are empowering consumers and driving retail to completely reimagine the supply chain. To succeed in the new digital landscape—and with hyperconnected consumers—retailers and suppliers must recognise, embrace, and become catalysts for change.

Here are the top five technology trends driving growth in the retail sector.

Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, and Machine Learning

A revolution for consumers.

AI enhances customer experiences and improves performance and outcomes by automating labour-intensive processes. Chatbots guide consumers through purchase decisions, and machine learning is revolutionising business decision-making.

Accenture predicts AI will double the economic growth rate of twelve developed countries—including the US, UK, Japan, and Germany—by 2035.

The Internet of Things, Beacons, and Mobile Devices

Connecting goods, services, and customers.

While IoT provides real-time insights to retailers, beacons are helping drive foot traffic into stores by marketing to customers’ mobiles. Together, they can deliver highly targeted, personalised campaigns.

The total number of connected devices is expected to reach 20–30 billion worldwide by 2020. Ninth Decimal reports 59 percent of consumers use their mobile device while shopping.
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Blockchain: The Future of the Value Chain

A real game-changer.

Blockchain is set to revolutionise the value chain by removing the third-party element from digital transactions. And by guaranteeing data ownership, protecting data privacy, and preventing unauthorised duplication, it’s enabling exciting new business models.

“For the first time, [blockchain means] everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer.” Mark Andreesen in "Why Bitcoin Matters," the New York Times

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Virtual Reality
and Augmented Reality

Not just the latest fads.

Both VR and AR are finding a host of new practical applications in retail. VR shows strong promise for virtual in-store experiences, while AR applications can provide consumers with insights and information overlaid on real-world scenarios.

“Shoppers want to take advantage of in-store technology…they want to combine immediate access to information with their in-store experience.” —"Keeping Pace with Shifting UK Shopper Expectations," Mindtree

3D Printing: A Revolution
in Manufacture

Customisation on an enterprise scale.

3D printing is boosting the speed and accuracy of manufacturing, slashing time to market, and enabling widespread customisation—across medical, automotive, fashion, and design sectors.

According to Tektonika, retailers will use 3D printing widely to enable small-batch production, reduce inventory waste, boost consumer demand for user-designed products, and normalise spare parts printing.

With the right cloud strategy in place—delivering the scalability, flexibility, cost efficiency, and future-readiness retail demands—businesses can prepare for, and thrive in, a challenging future.