Innovation and the Future of Retail

Today innovation keeps accelerating, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality. 91% of UK online shoppers are now shopping on Amazon so retailers have to keep up with competition. It is time to innovate in order to be different. For over 1 in 3 shoppers, real-time, personalised offers designed especially for them are important. And when asked about why they like to shop online, survey participants identified convenience, price and product choice as their top three reasons. With so much new technology, and so many potential areas for investment, how can retailers ensure they make the right decisions? But more than ever it is important for Order Fulfilment to stay on top of things and to keep up with innovations.

Innovation and the importance of new technologies

In terms of innovation, it is a good time for companies to try new ideas and test the new technologies. For instance, the Snap Fashion app now allows customers to take a photograph of something they like and then to search for similar products. Not only is this creating an entirely new way of shopping, it also has genuinely personalised and perfectly adapted to the way that digital natives want to shop.  For any retailer, the best advice is to ask yourself what your customers want, so that you can understand what is profitable to you.

If Virtual Reality already exists at home, it is considered by many retailers as the future of retail as well. So could Virtual Reality work for shoppers and how would it work specifically for ‘Virtual Retail’? For some people, you could be able to get your avatar (which could be created to match your own height and size) to try on clothes, for example. You could even be able to feel the weight and texture of fabric and visit a store tailored to your preferences and needs. Grocery shopping could go virtual too, which could restore the ‘impulse buy’ that disappeared with online shopping.

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The Challenges and Opportunities for Order Fulfilment

For retail, the opportunities of Virtual Reality are immense. But there are some big challenges too, and technology isn’t the only one. As for all emerging technologies, the real challenge is to be an early mover. For any retailer, it is very important to offer something unique to your customers. And of course they also have to keep informed and on top of the market and of the innovations. For instance, IKEA already has an application, providing an Ikea VR experience. It allows you to walk around one of their kitchens, make customisations to the colour scheme, and even cook meatballs.

For Order Fulfilment, keeping informed is definitely a key point. And with wearable devices, smart watches, smart clothing and smart glasses, there is plenty to learn and discover. In an area of fast paced change, retailers may also have to consider working differently. Indeed, distributed decision making and self-managed teams might be necessary in the future. At Fulfillment Logistics, we care about innovation and provide the best user experience possible to our customers.

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