The effect of digital technology is still in its early stages in many businesses. Digital, on the other hand, is already causing massive disruption in the retail industry. New technologies are constantly redefining operations, increasing efficiency, and improving consumer experiences, resulting in a considerable increase in-store profit. Digital technology has had a tremendous revolutionary influence in this industry, and it shows no indications of abating. Global retail e-commerce sales will reach US$4.88 trillion in 2021, according to Statista. The retail industry can no longer afford to ignore the massive impact that digital technology is having on the old business paradigm.
New Emerging Technological Trends of 2022
Virtual Fitting Room Technology
A virtual fitting room allows customers to try on clothing without having to touch anything. It works by overlaying an item over a customer's live video stream. Before purchasing an item, the customer may check its size, style, and fit. This sort of technology, often known as virtual dressing rooms, has grown in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. During the pandemic, retail sales of clothing goods dropped by 43.5 percent, the greatest of any industry. Shoppers were unable to purchase merchandise in-store due to global lockdowns. Even after those retail establishments reopened, consumers were more cautious to try on clothing because they were concerned that it would raise their chance of contracting the virus.
Augmented reality is used in the majority of virtual fitting rooms. A webcam scans a person's body to create a 360-degree 3D model in this case. Artificial intelligence is used in other virtual fitting rooms. AI, like augmented reality, creates full-body 3D models of the customer standing in front of the camera using algorithms and machine learning. Radiofrequency identification is integrated with the 3D model built by AI or AR (RFID). Another device that detects the items a shopper has brought to the virtual fitting room is this one. The scanned goods are superimposed on the shopper's 3D model using virtual reality technology. They'll be able to see how the item appears on them without having to try it on.
Indoor Positioning Technology
IPS refers to the technology that aids in the location of persons and things indoors, similar to a GPS for indoor situations. To make the information usable, the location information is supplied into some sort of application program. Real-time location systems (RTLS), navigation, inventory management, and first responder location systems, for example, are all enabled by IPS technology. Several technologies are in use such as Proximity-based Systems, Wi-Fi-Based Systems, Ultra-Wide-band Systems, Acoustic Systems, and Infrared Systems. Airbender is the world's most precise Bluetooth-based proximity system. It may be set up to find assets or persons in a broad region or down to a very particular location, utilizing a variety of proximity readers and reference points to reach the needed level of precision. And the BLE beacons it utilizes are available in a variety of form factors from a variety of vendors, giving you complete flexibility in overpricing, size, battery life, and enclosure materials.
Data-Driven Inventory Management Automation
By examining your items in terms of granular, fashion-specific features and determining clusters of top and worst performers within those attribute groupings. Buying teams may use this data to determine not only what types of dresses are in demand, but also which characteristics a dress must have to become a best-seller, such as a sleeve type, neckline, fabric, pattern, hemline, waistline, and more. Automating the process of labeling your items with trackable categories, subcategories, and attributes the instant they arrive on your inventory is the only way to identify attribute trends throughout your stock effectively and in real-time. Fashion merchants may use A.I. and Visual Recognition to tag their whole assortment with comprehensive fashion qualities and measure the success of each attribute against a variety of KPIs that are suited to their specific business goals.
Blockchain For Transparent And Efficient Supply Chains
As for transparency and security, blockchain will have a rapid penetration across the retail supply chains. Blockchain is a technology that takes the form of a decentralized open-source ledger that can record transactions in a verifiable and permanent way. Consequently, this provides a near real-time and irreversible record of a product's entire journey until it reaches the end customer. Once data has been recorded, it can’t be changed – only added to and updated – making this technology one of the fittest for purpose solutions to address supply chain traceability. Blockchain will increasingly become an integral part of Supply Chain Management systems. The technology will improve transparency, traceability, and auditability of material and product flows from suppliers, manufacturing facilities, warehouses to the customer.
NFT & Blockchain
NFTs have wreaked havoc on the digital world, as well as businesses ranging from art to gaming to finance. Non-fungible tokens, on the other hand, have yet to reach their full potential. NFT projects are being worked on by Twitter, Meta, and Reddit, investors are spending big on NFTs, and new NFT start-ups are popping up every day. NFTs have an almost limitless number of uses. Some predict that in 10 years, all purchases will include NFTs. Others believe that smart contracts will eventually supplant legal paperwork. While many people believe that NFTs are a fad or that they are too esoteric to become generally utilized, major companies such as Meta (previously Facebook), Twitter, Reddit, and Visa are paying attention and striving to ensure that they don't lose out on the NFT boom. While the NFT market is growing like a wildfire, there are some notable NFT trends expected to bounce in 2022 such as NFT art, Avatars & PFP NFTs, NFT Ticketing, Digital twin NFTs, AI NFTs, and Financial NFTs.
The metaverse is a futuristic-sounding idea that is primarily used in online gaming today. Platforms like Roblox and Epic's Fortnite provide a "synchronous and live" virtual reality (VR) environment that allows users to connect in real-time (as avatars) and play the game or simply watch events together. Outfits, weapons, haircuts, and accessories may be purchased in-game for a startling amount of money. By the end of 2022, L'Atelier BNP Paribas forecasts in-game expenditure on products like digital apparel and character improvements to reach $129 billion. Luxury labels are jumping on the bandwagon. Gucci was first to market in May, when 20 million people visited its virtual Gucci Garden on the Roblox platform, according to Vogue Business. Hundreds of thousands of users purchased limited-edition avatar products from the garden's virtual store in only two weeks. Gucci's Dionysus bags were much more expensive than the actual version. Users who purchased these virtual Gucci things "wore" them for five hours longer than users who purchased other accessories, according to Vogue Business. Balenciaga and Epic Games collaborated to premiere their autumn/winter 2021 collection in virtual reality, featuring a special range of in-game clothes and accessories, as well as practical products offered through the game. Balenciaga also published a video for its spring/summer 2022 collection, which included only one model and a CGI crowd.
Smart Homes And The Internet of Things
Throughout the coming year, the trend of all things domestic becoming increasingly "smart" and capable of communicating and connecting in more helpful ways continue. Gartner experts project that by 2022, the average household will have more than 500 smart gadgets. This year should finally witness the release of Matter, Apple, Google, and Amazon's "smart home OS" that attempts to build a common operating system for connected devices in the house. Currently, devices from various manufacturers use their protocols, and while they are usually designed to work together, there is no equivalent of Windows or macOS that allows users to manage and connect all of their gadgets and toys.
The purchasing patterns and projections for 2022 demonstrate how quickly consumer behavior is changing. After a difficult 2020-21, retailers will only be able to survive and grow in 2022 if they innovate, adapt, and pay careful attention to buyer expectations. Smart, intuitive AI, and retail-tech solutions, as well as a consumer-centric, digital-first retail strategy that matches with consumers' goals while future-proofing the organization. The massive technological exposition has generated cutting-edge products and service-based technologies which can be beneficial for both, consumers and retailers.