The Future Is Now: 3 Retail Trends To Watch Out For | 2022 looking ahead

As 2022 hits, here are the top three retail customer experience trends to come this year.

| by Curtis Howse – Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Home & Auto Platform at Synchrony, Synchrony

As two weeks became two months and two months became two years, the pandemic accelerated massive innovation in retail – and that innovation shows no signs of slowing.

Advances in machine learning and AI are enabling retailers to quickly adapt to new consumer preferences and behaviors.

As we head into 2022, here are the top three trends worth watching.

Consumers have learned how to save – and they like it

Hearing directly from buyers is invaluable – moving from the customer experience to the human experience. During Synchrony’s most recent Envision conference, a full panel discussion titled “Changing Consumer Expectations: A Generational Panel Perspective,” three consumers of different ages, races, genders and regions shared their views on a range of topics. One thing that caught on was that during the pandemic, people learned (or relearned) how to save – and they liked it. In fact, two of the panelists expressed a desire to keep saving rather than spending as their lives return to pre-pandemic conditions, prioritizing debt reduction and nest egg over purchases.

The impact on retail should not be underestimated. For many consumers, this means a complete shift in awareness. As the thrill of saving grows, retailers will have to fight harder for every sale – not just against their direct competitors, but against the new propensity not to buy at all. They need to think about the value they bring to consumers – using human experiences as a compass to guide the customer journey.

In this environment, the consumer experience will become even more meaningful as retailers look for ways to increase interest and reduce cart abandonment – which brings us to our next important point.

Express checkout will continue to gain momentum

“We have cars that drive ourselves, but it still takes two minutes for the average person to checkout online.” This is the paradox of Ryth Martin, founder and CEO of Skipify.

He is quite right to point out the extreme technology gap and the need to close it, because the hard truth is, too many people don’t spend those two minutes. Increasing your checkout speed and reducing friction can dramatically improve performance. The data shows that express checkout can increase the number of checkouts for orders many times over.

Technologies like Skipify give merchants the ability to instantly engage customers on any channel – so they can quickly shop on major merchant websites, send emails, and everything in between. Artificial intelligence and smart technologies will help make the entire payment process run smoothly.

Computer Vision will usher in a new area of ​​customer experience and help retailers increase loyalty

Grabango uses computer vision to provide a checkout-free shopping experience in both grocery stores and convenience stores. For the consumer, the advantages are obvious: No more queuing or going through each article through a barcode scanner; Just pick what you want and leave the store. It’s a quick, easy, and hassle-free process.

But the benefits are just as great for the retailer – possibly even greater. The elimination of checkout lines means employees are shifted to other roles, while the ability to reduce shoplifting enables shrinkage savings. Computer vision not only brings cost savings, but also increases sales. Deals are generally limited by how many customers they can handle at any given time. When the register bottleneck is removed, stores can serve more people at the same time and increase sales. In addition, the improved customer experience can create loyal repeat customers.

Finally, there are additional benefits that come as a by-product of the data systems collect. For example, if Computer Vision is constantly tracking the specific goods leaving your store, there is no need to do manual inventory counts and automatic orders can be created.

Will Glaser, Grabango Founder and CEO, said, “Without any uncertainty, Computer Vision is the technology of this decade. It is the most powerful technology we have on our hands that is not yet fully implemented.”

What it all means

Whether the technology is Computer Vision, Express Checkout, or Contactless Payment, the end result is customer convenience. It is critical that we are all closer to the customer to understand their entire journey, not just parts of it.

As the battle for consumers’ money intensifies, establishing yourself as the “easiest” retailer is a winning strategy – and adopting new technology early on could be an important part of that strategy. So watch out because big things are just around the corner.

Curtis Howse is Executive Vice President, Home and Auto, at Synchrony

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