As we continue to absorb all of the content coming out of our virtual CES experience, a few key topics stood out to us from yesterday’s lineup.
1) Retailers continue to focus on tech to drive overall customer satisfaction.
As a Preferred Service Provider at Walmart, of course we’re incredibly enthusiastic about all things Walmart to come out of CES. During the company’s keynote, we were excited to learn about the focus on robotic and AI technology to drive further price and time savings for customers – specifically how the ecosystem of technologies works together to drive customer experience. It’s always exciting to hear about a new piece of flashy retail tech, but true value and ROI is only realized when that tech fits into the larger strategic vision.
2) In-store tech may soon eclipse apps in the eyes of shoppers.
One segment in particular, “Retailers New Look: Shoppers Little Helpers,” shined light on this very topic. Speakers talked about robotics solutions in retail environments to support basic customer needs and shopping experience with tasks like Q&A and cleaning. This would likely only supplement the tasks that require more personal connection – something we believe still adds value for many product categories. We’re also seeing an influx of payment technologies that allow for touchless checkout. This app-less experience is influenced by the demand from customers who are shopping in-store today.
The key takeaway: The data tells us that customers no longer want to utilize apps for everything. Customers are growing more frustrated with app-based retail strategies and many want a more frictionless experience. Because in today’s world, even taking out your phone and finding or installing the app you need is a barrier to the engagement.
That’s not to say that in-store tech can’t incorporate or drive to digital experiences and content, but the transition and overall experience needs to be as seamless as possible – and, of course, it needs to add value. Brands must be careful not to overinvest in app development that customers perceive to be a seldom-used property. When the situation warrants, consumers prefer to utilize technologies like NFC, geofencing or QR codes, the resurging darling of a contactless 2020.
3) The new normal is here, and it’s here to stay.
It’s simply the norm – and retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and more are very aware of that.
The safety of retail workers and customers alike has always been a priority, but the shifts to align with safety protocols and guidelines continue to force us to think differently. And those shifts have influenced customer expectations – expectations that won’t just go away with the eventual dissipation of the pandemic. Customers are going to expect the supply chain to continue to keep up with their demands. That also means increased pressure on retail associates and 3PL partners to maintain on-shelf availability just as quickly – thus the industry’s surge in hiring efforts. No more fighting for toilet paper and diapers – or expect a loss of customers.
In other words, when we’re on the other side of this pandemic (or we can officially call it over – whenever that may be), retail trends that have accelerated like surges in supply chain, BOPIS and grocery delivery aren’t going to decelerate any time soon. Customers’ expectations have shifted, and they’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Did you miss our highlights from day one of CES? Check them out here.