10 Canadian Retail Technology Trends For 2016
Retail wasn’t always the most exciting of career choices. Placing items on counters, selling to walk-in customers. That about tells the story.
How things have changed. Technology is upending the retail sector. An increasing number of jobs in this field rely on knowledge of things digital and technical. A survey of 2016 retail technology trends confirms this evolution.
Sales Assisted By Technology
Among the most prominent areas of retail affected by technology is selling. So says Absolunet, one of Canada’s most specialized agencies in matters of eCommerce. Some key observations:
1. Click & Collect is Becoming Standard
Best Buy has been doing it for years. Loblaw is introducing it at a number of their stores. In-store pickup of online orders will be offered more and more. It’s a must for Web retailers who operate brick-and-mortar outlets. Customers no longer have to wait by their mailbox for shipments. This is a big trend in online shopping.
2. Order Management Systems (OMS)
Here comes the simplification of order processing. Extra transactions require added processing. To sustain profitability, retailers will invest in Order Management Systems. These are computer software programs that organize orders from customers, stock level maintenance, packaging and shipping. Logistics could be more efficient than ever.
3. Product Information Management (PIM)
As customers spend more time on "pre-purchase research", retailers will invest in product information management solutions. It functions as a product data hub. Instant updates are sent to web sites, print catalogs, ERP systems, and electronic data feeds to trading partners in all distribution channels.
Marketing Is Morphing
Ever since the first public browser appeared, retail has been using the Web for advertising. Digital has come a long way since then. Here are some retail marketing trends:
4. The Rise of In-Store Digital
In 2016, many more stores will see the introduction of innovative technologies on the sales floor. Digital posters that send personalized messages to a shopper’s mobile is one example. “Magic mirrors” that offer product information, recommendations, and virtual fittings is another. This will generate jobs in related hardware and software.
5. Content Keeps Spreading
Brands will create more original content than before. This material will be repurposed over and over again, each iteration appealing to a different audience or device format. Advertising copy specialists and people with writing backgrounds will benefit.
6. Digital Location Management Becomes a Priority
89% of Canadian smartphone users search for local information. 67% of consumers use mobile to find store locations. Yet Canadian retailers are behind the eight ball. Around 80% of all third-party site listings (Yelp, Google Maps, Foursquare, etc.) are inconsistent, inaccurate, or missing information. Retail jobs in online locatability are cropping up.
7. Social Media Tracking Becomes Critical
More than a quarter of Canadians read online reviews to help make buying decisions. Ignoring negative tweets or failing to interact with shoppers on Facebook could hurt sales. Someone has to track the retail brand online and provide appropriate feedback.
8. B2B Ecommerce Overtaking B2C
As the tools continue to evolve, B2B eCommerce is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. So much of current digital efforts have focused on consumers, somewhat less so on b2b or on government purchasing departments.
9. Globalization: More Canadian Retailers Expanding Worldwide
Several prominent Canadian retailers will leverage their digital infrastructure to expand into foreign markets, most notably the U.S. Take that, Saks and American Girl!
10. Social Media Becomes More Than Just Marketing
Since its onset, retailers have used social media mostly for marketing and to recruit staff. Watch as customer service, for instance, migrates progressively to the online world.
More In Store
RFID chips that make inventory/re-stocking management a breeze (and reduce shrinkage). Wearable devices for store clerks tuned into the Internet of Things. Technology is rearing its head in retail from shipping to stockrooms to post-purchase follow-up.
Are you eager to work in this dynamic environment? Monster posts many retail jobs that cover every aspect of the sector. Bring your technology and digital skills to a thriving industry.