As lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to ease, we are all wondering what a post-covid landscape may look like. Nearly all industries have been impacted by the pandemic and many have been forced to rapidly embrace change, devising innovative solutions to unprecedented challenges. Two of the most impacted customer-facing areas, retail, and hospitality, have found themselves struggling to meet customer requirements safely and efficiently.
Research by Deloitte indicates that the pandemic has accelerated the rollout of technology within organizations. Tech previously viewed as a bonus is now considered a serious source of competitive advantage. As non-essential
shops and services begin to open their doors, we thought it would be interesting to look at the key emerging technology trends.
Unsurprisingly, data from the Office of National Statistics show that online shopping has risen 33% throughout the pandemic. As shops reopen, high street retailers are creating innovative apps to reduce face-to-face interaction hopeful that this will boost footfall. Ikea’s smartphone app utilizes virtual reality technology, allowing customers to view furniture in their own homes before they visit the store. Similarly, Sainsbury’s is trialing a ‘virtual queuing system’, allowing customers to queue via a smartphone app from a remote location.
In a bid to meet customer requirements and comply with government guidelines many shops are integrating innovative checkout experiences. Research by GlobalData found 35% of consumers view in-store contactless services as a necessity and 48% want to order food in a restaurant using
their phone. This has lead to a surge in technology advancements, supermarkets are rapidly growing their Scan as you Go services and Amazon is about to launch a trial run of contactless high street stores.
Another key trend is the use of AI-powered chatbots. Chatbots can interact with consumers in real-time and provide 24/7 customer service, reducing the need for human interaction at times where dialogue is more important than ever. Research by GlobalData also shows that one-third of customers are comfortable interacting with robots. This highlights the potential of technology to minimize human interaction throughout the retail and hospitality sectors.
Reactions to the pandemic have demonstrated that adaptability and agility are crucial for businesses to survive. Technology has already played a vital role in allowing businesses to adapt to the new normal and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.