The market for connected retailing is expected to see a rapid expansion around the globe over the next few years. Looking at the pace at which traditional retailers are including connected retailing capacities to their consumer service practices, it can be said that connected retailing will soon be the new face of the retailing world.
Connected retail refers to a variety of practices that align the digital world with the physical one by allowing consumers to make more use of the mobile devices to make their shopping experiences more exciting. It is the practice of connecting the consumer seamlessly to the physical store by virtue of smart mobile devices, giving them a more informed, personalized, digital shopping experience. It allows the use of a variety of payment options, and most importantly, use of the data collected about consumer preferences in helping the retail industry deliver a much better consumer experience
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Retailers are rapidly realizing the benefits of connecting with consumers on their digital devices and giving them a more interactive and immersive shopping experience by consistently providing messaging, pricing, and product availability information, and consumer service across all consumer touch points.
Connected Retail Market: Overview
Over half of the world’s population today has smart mobile computing devices combined with superfast Internet connectivity through broadband, 3G, and Wi-Fi. This group of tech-savvy, connected, and mobile-enabled consumers is driving a revolution in the retail industry. The revolution is not only the consumers’ shifting preference from traditional brick-and-mortar shops to online vendors, which are successfully luring consumers by offering personalized deals and bids that undercut the traditional retail world; it is also about the change in the way consumers prefer to shop. This mobile-driven change is both a threat and an opportunity for the next-generation retailer, to tackle which, the market for connected retail has come into existence.
The connected retail market can be segmented on the basis of type of solution, technology, and services. The type of connected retail solution has two prominent segments: hardware and software. The key technologies used in connected retail solutions include Bluetooth, near-field communication, and Wi-Fi. Some of the most popular services in the connected retail market comprised in the segments are managed services, real-time marketing, real-time tracking, inventory management, and many other professional services such as consumer data analytics.
Connected Retail Market: Key Trends and Opportunities
Some of the major driving forces for the global connected retail market are the rising amount of time the end user is spending on smartphones and a host of other mobile computing devices, the widespread availability of high-speed Internet, and the strengthening network of e-commerce service providers. The highly informed consumer has a host of shopping options and wants to buy things at the best prices, through a most convenient shopping medium and from places best suited to one’s own time and priorities.
While all these factors collectively threaten the very survival of the brick-and-mortar-based traditional retailing model, the emergence of omnichannel retailing, the place that offers a seamless and flexible channel for buyers by combining and aligning a variety of product browsing and ordering channels and revenue streams, is a great opportunity for the retail industry to cater to its consumers in a more informed and effective manner.
Connected Retail Market: Region-wise Outlook
From a global perspective, the connected retail market is expected to witness the highest growth in Asia Pacific, owing to the presence of major manufacturers in the retail industry in China. The vast consumer pool in the region due to the huge population, which is being increasingly digitized, is also expected to be a major driver for the global connected retail market in Asia Pacific.
A large number of renowned IT companies, such as Cisco Systems, Inc., Verizon, Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Google, Inc., IBM, Intel Corporation, Zebra Technologies Corporation, SAP AG, Microsoft Corporation, and Atmel Corporation, are venturing in the global connected retail market, making competition highly fierce.
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