The recent developments around the world have made all industries dependent on advanced technologies. Developments such as the corona pandemic and internet penetration, has not only led to disruption of brick and mortar stores but also seen an evolution in retail software. The unrest caused by the corona pandemic has increased the value of the e-commerce in Europe to USD 393.8bn by the end of 2020 and is predicted to grow to USD 510.5bn by 2024. The growth is expected to rise due to the increasing demand for SMACT (Social, mobile Analytics cloud and IoT) technologies across the regions retail sector.
The European retail industry is currently influenced by the following market opportunities;
In 2019, Gartner predicted that by 2020, more than 100 million consumers are expected to use augmented reality to improve their shopping experiences. With the isolations and lock downs around the world, this prediction has greatly increased the demand for virtual fitting room systems. This system imitates the “try before you buy” approach by enabling the customers to interact with products virtually. Brands such as Lacoste, American Apparel, Uniqlo, IKEA, Amazon opened virtual show rooms and fitting rooms to allow customers to try products in virtual spaces.
The growing need to socially distance has increased the demand for different software within shops so as to reduce the spread of the corona virus. According to a survey carried out by Shekel Brainweigh Ltd on customers habits towards COVID-19, more than 87% of the customers will shop in stores with contactless or self-checkout options. As such, stores in Europe are continuously adopting RFID tags, computer vision systems, machine learning, IoT devices and facial recognition to improve customer experiences and prevent the spread of corona virus.
In retail stores and e-commerce, voice assisted technologies help make sales through voice recognition technology. The concept is known as “voice commerce,” a concept that is also known as e-commerce. Research indicates that at least 60million people globally have at least one smart speaker system in their homes. The market is expected to grow by 17.2% from 2019 to 2025 hence reaching 26.8billion by 2025. This market is influenced by the increasing demand in smart devices, technological advancements, the need for personal data, safety, security and the use of voice enabled payments and shopping by retailers.
In the world where social distance is the new normal, many retailers are looking for better ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 hence the adoption of robots to replace some human activities such as cleaning, moving goods from shelves, tracking and many others. These have used software such as AI to improve operations. More retailers are aiming to adopt the use of aerial drones, shelf auditing robots, autonomous vehicles and many other inventions. This industry is predicted to advance at an 18.4% during 2023-2030, ultimately garnering 191.6bn by 2030. The increasing need to improve, customer services, logistic management, delivery services and errand ranking are the major drive to the use of robotics in retail stores in Europe.
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