The Key Disruptive Digital Trends Leading to a More Personal Experience for Consumers

This year is looking to be very disruptive for retailers, thanks to the digital transformation that took place last year and the expected changes that will drive even more disruption in 2016. Here are a few of the key disruptive digital trends retailers will need to be mindful of this year: 
See, Click, Buy
Instant gratification “buy buttons” have seen a surge in popularity this year with Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest testing and offering the functionality in earnest. As a result of this, retailers will further customize and personalize buy buttons, with the expectation that they will translate into higher earnings in 2016. However, retailers will have to be cautious as strategic technology investments will be needed in order to ensure real-time inventory is understood and the complex processes involved in these new channels are orchestrated correctly.
Knowing that you want — before you do
Retailers will leverage predictive analytics in stores to learn, with a great deal of certainty, what customers are going to want and when. This digital transformation can be seen in a retailer’s omnichannel strategy. Predictive analytics tools, especially when combined with streaming analytics, offer retailers the ability to manage queues, customer expectations and inventories before there is an issue.
Immersion therapy in 3D
Although futuristic technology has allowed customers to immerse themselves in the shopping experience for a few years, this augmented reality experience will become more commonplace and more sophisticated. Technologies, such as Microsoft’s Hololens, an untethered, holographic computer, will allow customers to augment reality while in-store. They will be able to try on clothes, or design their ideal kitchen virtually, while sharing their experiences with friends and family. iBeacons and anonymous analytical face detection technology will enable retailers to interact in real-time with customers, as well as track their behavior. The importance of this is that retailers will have the opportunity to send customers highly contextual, hyper-local, meaningful messages and advertisements on their smartphones as they shop in-store.
The Internet of Total Satisfaction
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to revolutionize the store of the future. The sensor-oriented devices found throughout stores will be connected through a robust digital backend and enable the most detailed and targeted customer centricity. Retailers embracing the IoT will have visibility into inventories via electronic shelf sensors; the ability to create smart signs that are weather- or facial expression-relevant; and the tools to make every loyalty customer feel coddled and important. In fact, using smart store monitoring technology, some retailers are already gaining insights as to what is happening in-store, in real-time.
No matter what retail industry or which job function you are in, the digital transformation will be seen and felt. These few examples of disruptive technologies will ensure retailers deliver a super-personalized customer experience while remaining ahead of the competition.

-Oliver Guy, Global Industry Director, Retail, Software AG