Five trends driving retail supply chains

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Five technology trends will influence the UK retail environment and business strategies in 2018, according to Manhattan Associates.

  1. Increased personalisation of shopping experiences

Retailers are expected to harness new technologies to improve customer engagement which, alongside enterprise order management, will provide actionable insight into the omni-channel shopping experience for personalisation and optimisation across the buyer journey.

  1. More flexible checkout experiences

Retailers are expected to seek standardised mobile POS systems that enable payment throughout the store and act as a one-stop shop for inventory management, browsing, recommendations and customer data, driving engagement with fast, easy to use technology applications.

3. Accelerated automation integration

Retailers will do more than just dip their toe in the water when it comes to software and automation adoption, but they must remember to start this process from the ground up. The machine will evolve over the course of many years which will mean the centralised software orchestrating everything – technologies, people and processes within the warehouse – will need to evolve with it. This is why retailers are seeking centralised cloud-based systems that can be upgraded to advance innovation.

  1. Reimagined use of AI-based technologies

This year, retailers are expected to pivot from futuristic AI, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to embrace more pragmatic uses of machine learning within their back-end supply chain operations. Warehouse Management Systems will advance in 2018 with a machine-learning capability they can sense and learn, so retailers can optimise the release of work to the warehouse floor and when best to execute customer orders to maximise service levels and operational efficiency.

  1. Greater implementation of employee engagement solutions

Millennials are the new workforce and more of them than ever before are working in retail, presenting retailers with an engagement challenge. Employee engagement today requires more visual, graphic based content that is personal and digital. In 2018 retailers will look beyond traditional engagement channels to facilitate the sharing of thoughts and feedback in more creative and intuitive ways.

“As consumer expectations continue to rise in a fast-changing retail environment, retailers are seeking new ways to succeed. With the pace of innovation increasing, we anticipate retailers will double down on technology deployments in the year ahead,” said Craig Summers, Manhattan’s UK managing director.

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