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What’s Next in Retail Trends? A Look from CES 2019

Liz Alton
January 18, 2019

2 minute read

Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas offers a preview of the retail trends, emerging technologies, and latest products shaping the broader retail landscape. At this year’s CES, a number of companies announced exciting innovations that have the potential to further reshape the way we shop. From next-generation in-store personalization to even more flexible ways to pay, here are 5 CX retail trends we’re paying attention to from this year’s CES show.

Robots get smarter by working together

Robots (like Pepper) offering customer service are nothing new, but this year’s CES showed Pepper joining forces with other robots. Pepper collaborated with Tally of Simbe Robotics to show how retail robots can share information, collaborate, and further streamline retail automation. For example, Tally might determine that an item a customer wants is out of stock; Pepper could then advise the customer and offer alternate solutions. This is just one of the examples of CX-focused retail robots announced at CES that promises to continue to be a point of exploration in retail trends.

Smart mirrors offer customized feedback

Retail trends have focused on personalization, and smart mirrors are one way to elevate the in-store experience. However, smart mirrors could soon be going beyond showing shoppers what a specific coat would look like in another color and offering customized advice. P&G announced the SK-II Future X Smart Store. Shoppers have their face scanned, and then receive personalized skin care recommendations. If they pick up a product within the store, they can use an interface to find out if it will help them achieve their specific goals. SK-II is just one example of proactive personalization that is likely to offer product recommendations, contextual guidance on reaching goals, and a more immersive shopping experience.

Wearables offer another avenue for digital payments

Just as you got comfortable with swiping your smartphone for your half-café latte at Starbucks, CES offers another way to pay. PYMNTS reports that MOTIV—a smart fitness-ring maker—plans to introduce heart rate monitoring as a strategy for payment validation. If this feature is combined with communication features that link wearables to point-of-sale devices, consumers will have even more options for how they manage their money and pay for purchases on the go.

Autonomous delivery improves the shipping CX

The convenience of online shopping continues to capture the interest of shoppers, but today’s audiences are increasingly unwilling to wait days for their orders to arrive. At this year’s CES show, the Retail Gazette reported that a number of innovations in autonomous delivery show promise. These include grocery delivery via driverless car. Another trend major retailers are investing heavily in is drone technology, supported by charging stations throughout urban areas and smart software to help navigate urban areas.

The unmanned store lowers operation costs

Self-checkout is increasingly a retail trend. At CES, NFC World reported that NXP debuted a chip that allows retailers to launch unmanned stores. The full range of features includes 24/7 access via authorized entry, smart checkout that can read the products in a cart and support seamless checkout, and even intelligent shelfing that lets customers pay for products as they take them out.

The way we shop is changing. And this year’s CES show revealed that the focus is no longer on online shopping versus visiting physical stores. Retail trends focus on new ways to pay, automating the way we deliver both service and products, and using emerging tools to bring personalization and flexibility to the retail experience.

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Header image courtesy of CES.

Liz Alton
Liz Alton
Liz Alton is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B technology, digital marketing, and the customer experience. Her clients include creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and venture-backed startups.
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