Middle East Retail Forum (MRF) 2023

Deliver change the tech way

Technology is redefining the way retail function. Both internally as well as externally for the customer facing narrative, technology is the highlight that is pushing growth for retailers across offline and online. 

But, Tech implementations are always followed with questions on ROI and other such result-oriented discussions. But today along with the questions on return, a new thought has been outlined and that is the idea of conveniently reaching out to the new-age customer. This layer of convenience redefines the tech approaches, but how are the leading tech minds in the industry addressing this? While we discuss the idea of tech and how it is driving the right conversation with customers at the Middle East Retail Forum on 10th of October 2023 at the Address Dubai Marina, let’s discuss 3 most interesting ways in which technology is creating the right backbone for growth for retail. 

Building the backbone of AI
Artificial intelligence has been a strong support for retail since a long time. In fact, retail started to adopt to the AI practices even before other industries could. This has taken a leap forward with time and now more and more unique implementations and AI tools are getting moulded into the functions of retail across processes. The most popular use of AI by a retailer is the recommendation engine, which has begun helping the industry predict user needs and recommend them the right products, accordingly. The ML algorithm recommends related products to customers based on their previous shopping history, location, and purchase habits of other similar customers. Going forward, retailers need to double down on AI and related technologies to grab the right eyeballs and catch customer attention across touchpoints. 

Using tech to automate the processes
Retailers are betting big on automation and amping up their investment in tools that helps technologically drive the processes across all arenas of retail. Automation is ruling out the idea of repetitive tasks. Today retailers are using technologies to reduce human intervention and in turn making processes more agile. Automation in every area within the retail sector, from warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfillment to consumer-facing features like contactless payments can uplift the way retail functions. According to a report by McKinsey, 52% of all retail activities can be automated with existing technology. It reduces human errors, improves quality and speed of service, boosts employee productivity, and saves money. Automation can generate 300 to 500 basis points of incremental margin, a godsend for retailers facing margin pressures. This makes automation not a choice but a requirement in the hypercompetitive retail environment.

RFID & smart store technologies
Adopting smart store technologies is dominant for brick-and-mortar retailers looking to enhance their omnichannel experience. Most brands and retailers today employ tools to manage inventory, including radio-frequency identification (RFID) and QR codes. According to research more than 70% of Gen Z and millennials are willing to shop or spend more with retailers offering contactless checkout. So, it is time to add more agility and implement self-checkout solutions like mobile-POS (mPOS). These deliver a seamless experience across all customer touchpoints, whether online, in-store, mobile, or social media.  

Technology inclusion in retail processes optimizes the way of working and the pathway is endless and only gets interesting at every turn. Hear the tech leaders share more insights on this at the Middle East Retail Forum on 10th of October 2023 at the Address Dubai Marina.