What’s hot in retail? What are the trends shaping 2021?

We have collated articles, trends and commentary to help answer these questions for you… in this blog you’ll discover an interesting article examining the use of robots, AI and the Internet of Things in retail and why now is not the time to rip and replace or fear legacy POS systems.

Omnico has collated articles, trends and commentary to share with you.

Join in the conversation on social media, or get in touch with us to discuss more!

Data-collecting retail robots

An interesting article examining the use of robots, AI and the Internet of Things in retail. We’ve all seen the “LoweBot” that can answer simple customer questions, such as finding items, to the six-foot-tall free-moving spill-cleaning robots at Giant Food Stores, and the autonomous shelf-scanners at Walmart.

This article goes one step further examining the opportunity for retail robots to capture more granular data about products on the shelves and customer buying patterns. These robots can capture product and aisle details, converting it to metrics and insights about out-of-stock merchandise and pricing. Such detailed data is precious in retail, where understanding and anticipating consumer demand is essential.

But you don’t need to be a star-gazing future robot to gain this level of detail! If you’re interested in understanding consumer behaviour and target shoppers with coupons and gift cards, then speak to us about our Engage product.

Resurgence in customer loyalty

After an unexpected and tumultuous 2020, many are looking to this year and what it will bring. An article in Grocery Dive says the year promises the retail sector long-term growth if they are strategic in re-focusing on securing customer loyalty. The pandemic meant customers often shopped where they could, or where supply of toilet roll was located, but now retailers can focus on securing returning custom.

Loyalty is a topic that Omnico often writes about, and even before the Pandemic research showed that 92% of US retail grocery customers use loyalty programs in one form or another. In addition, 69% said they are more likely to use a loyalty scheme if it is integrated into a phone app that enables them to pay, accumulate points and spend them. Refresh your memory on our research and download it here.

Technology platforms need a booster jab

In the same article, Grocery Dive has called for grocers to improve their platforms and also make online order fulfilment more efficient. Many retailers have had to lean on their technology platforms over the past year to keep up with demand from consumers, without being able to invest in their upkeep and improvements. Now is the time, not to rip and replace, nor fear their legacy POS systems, but to enhance with digital technology or extend end-of-life systems with a new lease.

Combat meal-prep fatigue

Restaurants and dining out will return to pre-Pandemic levels, so many retailers need to fuel an at-home cooking surge to combat the 2020 meal prep fatigue. Offering meal kits and contactless services like smoothie-making machines, or again robots, but this time on the salad bar, could all make a difference.

Community shopping hubs

Over at Retail Dive they focused one of their trends on the change to bricks-and-mortar stores. The Pandemic meant that many retailers were either forced to close their doors, or it instead sped up their closure plans. This year analysts are predicting more neighbourhood shopping districts as people continue to work from home and frequent local shops. Foot Locker and Nike are among those embracing the idea of community-orientated locations.

What do you think will be the key trends of this year? Email us or connect on social media…

Micro-fulfilment to support a macro problem

And finally, something else to leave you pondering – micro-fulfilment. The concept is that technology makes picking of items much faster and more accurate, offering the capability to provide online grocery pick-up in under an hour from placing an order, while saving on expensive manual labour and distancing picking operations from browsing customers in-store.

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