What’s Ahead for Retail Technology? Ask the Crystal Ball

What technology developments can retailers expect in 2019? Here’s some perspective from Adam Silverman, senior vice president of marketing for Theatro, and a former Forrester analyst with 20 years of industry experience.

1. E-commerce software will evolve into commerce software that powers both online and offline commerce. As retailers look to replatform antiquated point-of-sale (POS) and other legacy store systems, they will increasingly leverage functionality within their e-commerce platforms. The traditional notion of a POS will die and give way to a more unified commerce application that maintains inventory and simultaneously helps associates engage with customers.

2. Advanced intelligence in the supply chain will drive profit and loyalty. Customer expectations for speed continue to rise in the age of Amazon Prime delivery, and retailers will emphasize fulfillment efficiencies to address them. Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence in the supply chain will generate increased value to retailers, who can optimize their buying and planning functions, and ultimately deliver packages to customers within 24 hours—including a greater expansion of Buy Online Pickup in Store.

3. Voice takes center stage in retail. Voice as a computing interface will gain traction in 2019, empowering hourly store employees to gain access to enterprise information with simple voice commands. Just as consumers use voice technology assistants such as Alexa or Siri to answer their questions, voice app platforms allow retail workers to check inventory and order status, look up customer information, or receive tasks based on their skill set or location. Customers will soon expect to see this interaction in their local store as digital assistants enter the mainstream.

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