Technology continues to take the retail landscape by storm. James Glover, cofounder and chief executive officer of e-mail marketing optimization and personalization company Coherent Path, weighed in on why augmented and virtual reality will shape the market moving forward.
WWD: What are emerging tech trends for retailers?
James Glover: In our digital reality, we have so much information. Harnessing data from all silos — for all industries — will be a huge focus in 2018. For retailers especially, having a good understanding of their customers, from their online behaviors to shopping patterns, and effectively leveraging as many data points as possible to deliver a positive customer experience is paramount.
Smart retailers will invest more heavily in technology that can help them make sense of their transactional data to better serve their customers. We’ll see more of that in the coming year.
WWD: What stands out particularly?
J.G.: Shopping has always been a visual experience, and virtual reality is taking that to new heights. It’s still in its early days, but VR will enable retailers to deliver more engaging, immersive experiences in custom-created surroundings that tie together online shopping ease with 3-D experiences.
From a marketing perspective, this can help retailers engage consumers in more meaningful ways, increasing the amount of time a customer interacts with a brand and creating better and more memorable experiences. We’re already seeing retailers test out augmented reality to improve the customer experience. Converse, for example, created a mobile AR app to allow their customers to try on shoes.
WWD: When it comes to technology, how are things changing overall?
J.G.: Customers’ expectations have risen — they know you have their data and they will demand that it be used wisely. There will be no excuse for every engagement not to be personalized and entirely customer-centric across all touch points. I think retailers are beginning to understand that.
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