We live in age where the consumer is king. Their preferences now dictate retail offerings, as opposed to a decade or two ago when brands had a lot more influence on their markets’ needs and wants. All of the technology trends in the retail industry are customer-centric; offering them easier ways to pay and increased convenience.

Cashless payment methods are making paying for goods quick and easy.

No longer constrained by limited payment options, consumers are now able to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. As far as technology trends in the retail industry are concerned, mobile payment apps are by far the most influential. Apps like Standard Bank’s Snap Scan and exclusive taxi service Uber have paved the way for a whole host of mobile payment options that allow consumers to make a purchase with their smartphone. The ramifications for the retail industry are broad – in short, if you aren’t offering your market quick, easy and secure ways to pay, they’ll find a competitor who does.

Mobile point of sale systems are playing a crucial role in growing SA’s economy.

South African brands have come to the party by offering mobile point of sale (POS) systems at affordable rates. ABSA’s Pebble  and Paycorp’s ZipZap mobile POSenable businesses – big and small – to accept payments anywhere, at any time.

Industry inDecator, Apple, recently released its version of SnapScan. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), iPhone 6 users are able to pay for goods and services with one scan of their fingerprint. Watch this video for a full-rundown of how this technology works.

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In a developing economy like ours, technology trends that are scalable and easy to implement are crucial. These mobile payment gateways allow entrepreneurs and established businesses alike to cater to a wide market. This results in increased revenue as well as improved customer service and brand advocacy.

Consumers’ demand for the ecommerce equivalents of their favourite brands continues unabated.

While online stores aren’t one of the more recent technology trends in the retail industry, they continue to be at the forefront of the consumers’ changing buying behaviour.

South African ecommerce stores like Takealot and Kalahari are leading the way. These two companies have no brick and mortar stores, instead, they’ve made like online shopping giant Amazon, operating out of large-scale warehouses, and conducting all of their business via the cloud.

As the competition heats up amongst online stores, brands are offering faster and free delivery options, limited offers and discount codes.

As consumers grow ever savvier, advertising has changed directions from ‘push’ to ‘pull’.

Today, consumers have more choice than ever, which means that advertising tactics of old are no longer viable. Contextual advertising – the practice of displaying specific ads to specific consumers – has become more and more prominent. So too has content marketing, which entails the use of relevant, useful content to catch someone’s attention.

As far as brick and mortar store and concerned, we may soon see the use of facial recognition advertising, which UK chain Tesco rolled out last year. This entails the use of cameras that scan a customer’s face, identifying their gender and approximate age. Advertising messages are then displayed according to their demographic.

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Some critics argue that this is a blatant invasion of privacy. Consider this: every time you walk into a shopping center, forecourt or office park, you’re already being watched. Whether this Orwellian approach to advertising will be welcomed by South African consumers, however, remains to be seen.

Technology trends in the retail industry have also extended to cleaning methods, allowing businesses to keep house with little to no downtime.

Cleaning and maintaining a physical store is now easier, thanks to advances in cleaning methods. One of the most notable inDecations is that of carpet cleaning – a necessity for a vast array of businesses. This crucial service used to entail the shutting down of a whole operation, with stores, hotels and casinos having to close their doors while their carpets were cleaned. Nowadays, dry carpet cleaning has eradicated downtime, enabling companies to carry on as usual. The result? Uninterrupted operations and happy customers.

Find out about our dry carpet cleaning services here.

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Image Credit: Luxury Report Mag