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The Hottest Retail Tech Trends of 2019


If your brand is in the retail industry, and you don’t have an incredible app to offer your consumers, you’re already at a disadvantage. Retailers have been using interactive mobile apps to boost conversions and increase brand awareness for years, and users are responding. According to this  study from Synchrony, more than 67% of those asked have at least one retail mobile app on their current device, and the download rate of these apps have doubled from just a year ago.

Want to get in on all this success? You need to know all the hottest trends and technologies emerging by the day. Check out our list of the most popular trends in retail mobile apps today. 

Change the Channel

So, according to Google, 60% of shoppers start shopping on one device, and finish the process on another, including actual brick and mortar stores. And, 82% with a smartphone use it during the physical buying process. What does that mean? Well, your next retail app better work on every device, and the transition between them needs to be seamless and friction-free. Think about it: if research starts on a desktop, gets picked up on a tablet the next day for comparison shopping, then is double-checked on a phone in the store before purchase…does your mobile app let them pick up where they left off without delays or backing up? If so, you’ve got conversions coming your way. 

All About Anticipation

Just like buyers have to anticipate what consumers will be looking to buy every season, savvy app developers need to figure out the various ways users will use an app before they develop it. For example, Groupon evolved from a handy coupon site into a “what are we gonna do this weekend?” resource, and increased its utility and conversion rate several times over in the process. Likewise, your next retail app could answer the “I know I need something, but I don’t know what” conundrum, and turn idle browsing into sales with the right formula. All successful retail apps collect every bit of data about each individual user, like search history and abandoned shopping cart items, and combine that with targeted push notifications, suggested accessory items, and specific discounts to lure the buyer in. Pair that with a user-friendly checkout system and loyalty program points, and your casually curious shopper will be buying early and often. 

Your Reality, Only Augmented

The main reason many shoppers still go to brick and mortar stores is to see, feel, and imagine how any particular item might look on their person or in their home. So, it makes sense that apps now use augmented reality technology to let users integrate their homes and themselves with hot retail items like clothing, makeup, and furniture…all from the comfort of their homes on their phones or tablets. Retail giants like Home Depot, Sephora, and The Gap use this technology to great advantage, allowing the user to see what fits, matches, and looks good. The applications are limitless, and the fun interactive nature of using your device’s camera brings users in and keeps them engaged. Anything from car accessories to pet costumes could be a part of this exciting feature, so make sure your next retail app incorporates it. 

Need It Yesterday

As the digital world evolves rapidly, so do the consumer’s expectations. Users want quick comparison shopping, fast and frictionless checkout, next day shipping, and instantaneous returns. Now, quite a bit of expedient service like this depends on various logistics that companies have in place, like sourced warehouses, trucking fleets, and advanced inventory control; these aren’t always things that smaller companies can acquire.

That said, there are ways that both cleverly designed apps and changes in today’s business world can help enterprising businesses. On the app end, making sure every step from discovery and research through decision and checkout is pain-point free is crucial. Smart developers and architects use an iterative testing model to constantly examine, identify, and troubleshoot potential friction points. Seamless and smooth UX/UI is the reason your users will stay with you, while 11% of average users uninstall because of technical issues.

As for concise inventory control and expedient shipping and returns, there’s a lot to be done outside your app. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can let you keep your thumb firmly on your inventory, meaning any shortages or surplus in goods will be automatically reflected on all your channels so your users will know exactly what’s available. Offering free shipping and returns (even if you roll that cost into your retail prices) will make your users happy, and the burgeoning gig economy, in some cases, can make quick deliveries possible. 

Artificial Intelligence in Real Time

Today’s shoppers want the most personal experience possible, and they’re mostly willing to offer their personal information and preferences to get it. Fun interactive surveys and quizzes on your app can harvest massive amounts of relevant data, in addition to browsing history and search topics. But, none of that data is worth a lot if you can’t properly organize it and optimally target your consumers with suggestions and discounts.

Enter the new era of AI. Advanced analytics is perhaps the most useful application of AI, giving businesses incredible power to mine data and present it easily to users. Shoppers can now enter a product and immediately see similar products, pricing, delivery options, and more, all on one screen. This personalized approach is immensely effective.

Another popular trend is social shopping and visual searches. Seeing a pair of shoes on an Instagram model or a barstool in a restaurant that you like can now translate to featuring exact or similar matches on your app for the user to buy. Again, AI can help you accomplish this trend.

Keep in mind that this emerging technology isn’t inexpensive. But, the potential that AI offers is enough for many retailers to invest heavily in, and successful app development partners will have the experience and know-how to integrate it in your new retail app. 

Does your retail business need an app or an app refresh? Contact us today for a free consultation!



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