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Emerging Tech Advancements Are Paving the Way in the Retail Industry

In a recently released Mastercard Signals report titled, “Emerging Technology Trends for 2024,” the company’s insights experts explored tech trends across artificial intelligence, computational power and data technologies that will be shaping the face of commerce in the next three to five years.

Particularly, the retail sector is posed to experience significant transformations changing how consumers shop and spend money, brand interactions with their shoppers and how businesses make decisions and operate.

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Ken Moore, chief innovation officer at Mastercard, views these emerging tech trends with a promising outlook for the retail industry and higher levels of engagement and connectivity between consumers and brands.

Businesses must adapt to new opportunities and technologies to remain relevant or risk being out of touch. However, Moore foresees the reality of how slow or limited adoption of new tech rollouts can be a challenge when underwhelming user experiences, interoperability within existing systems or bad timing could come into play.

The trend of AI-powered shopping assistants would streamline the process for consumers, help populate relevant products and speed up checkout. Last year, Mastercard company, Dynamic Yield, launched “Shopping Muse,” which combines conversational, colloquial text recognition to create smart, personalized recommendations to help shoppers on their journey from product searches to sales. Other companies engaging in this trend which will likely surface within the next year include Shopify, Instacart, Mercari, Carrefour and Walmart.

Other trends include mixed reality wearables as experiences that merge the physical and digital world where spatial computing comes into play, advances in smart network tech to power “smart cities” with connected experiences at major consumer destinations such as main street shopping or transport hubs and standards for “responsible companies” as consumers look to spend money with brands that align with their values and businesses who want to earn a share of their wallet through consumer trust and regulation compliance.

While these new tech trends start to emerge, AI, computational power and data analytics are not isolated — rather, they are interconnected components driving innovations across multiple industries (not just tech but also finance, healthcare, education and more) to help shape commerce’s future.

AI can help enhance data analytics and decision-making while computing power helps enable faster AI training. Spatial computing can benefit AI-driven recognition and data is more valuable once properly analyzed by AI algorithms.

Businesses can utilize these advancements to enhance the customer experience through personalized marketing and a more streamlined supply chain management. Insights powered by AI could give retailers deeper and more thorough consumer behavior analytics to help optimize their inventory and help predict upcoming market trends.

This shift in convergence shows how tech can be applied to various sectors. The results of the interconnection of the three will impact how people shop, work and interact with each other and the world at large.

“On the one hand, there’s the potential for new channels and points of sale — beyond what is commercially available today — which means brands and retailers could have more opportunities to reach and engage with their target audience,” said Moore. “On the other hand, these new channels, coupled with new standards for transparency, new levels of personalization and greater levels of insights, could give way to a more informed consumer who spends more strategically — but with fewer brands as a result.”

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