Take advantage of retail trends, the shift from omnichannel to ambient tech

This year, taking advantage of the latest trends requires firm feet on the ground, while working with a good partner to achieve necessary goals.

What does this mean?

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The future of ambient technology is always to make the customer and employee experience better, without being intrusive.

Is the omnichannel world dead?

Well, according to Peter Ludi, Business Development Executive at redPanda Software there needs to be a deliberate intent out, and most retailers are nowhere near proclaiming they’ve evolved past the omnichannel.

He adds: “We need to acknowledge that most organizations are still engaged in the early stages of a nuanced and gradual shift from the omnichannel to a state where ambient technology is live across the retailer’s ecosystem, works and is effective. For this to occur, retailers need a common, clean, curated data set with no silos or Chinese walls. This may sound familiar because it is – this is also the foundation for deploying artificial intelligence (AI) effectively.”

But how would a retailer propel themselves into a future with a firm grasp of reality?

There needs to be a variety of factors, a singular purpose, and clarity of the intended strategy.

Singular purpose

There needs to be a purpose that spans across marketing, brand, and culture. This purpose underpins how the retailer engages across various channels.

The reality is if the brand doesn’t work, the technology won’t fix it, therefore brand fundamentals must be rock solid before technology investment decisions according to Ludi.

Clarity of strategy

There must be clear messaging communicated. That strategy must answer these questions; What are we trying to achieve? Do we honestly have a clear grasp of our retail practice? This isn’t an exercise for its own sake, it is an exercise to achieve a state of clarity while seeking agility – and retailers will need plenty of this attribute in the future, as it only exists in a state of clarity.

An experienced partner will help retailers gain this clarity of purpose so that any technology deployment is based on the retailer’s own goals, Ludy adds.

Leveraging the machines

AI and machine learning can have a massive impact on personalisation, as long as the data is good. Retailers can leverage AI to manage product descriptions and inventory, enhance staff productivity, to enrich search and browse journeys, and much more. There are a host of use cases, both internally and externally, and so getting to the right use case is crucial.

This means retailers need to rewire themselves to be able to integrate various channels, systems, and touchpoints into a seamless cohesive customer and employee experience.

At the recent National Retail Federation’s The Big Show in New York there was a noticeable shift towards appreciating that good customer experience starts with the people on the shop floor, says Ludi.

“Large and enterprise retailers can no longer manage a workforce manually. However, they must focus on retaining their brand culture: They must innovate on how to motivate and incentivize staff in an environment full of controls.”

Also read: Hostex 2024, a pillar necessary for the South African market’s growth

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