What Are the Top Technology Trends in Retail?

Retail start-ups need to adopt to new-age technology tools and go beyond the brick-and-mortar physicality of stores to stay relevant.


Innovation is gripping the retail world and retail giants are forced to make changes to survive a post-pandemic era. The perspective on how this sector operates underwent a transformation and the sector is still undergoing trying to sail through the disruptions.

The e-commerce boom which gained steam during the Covid-19 outbreak has left brick-and-mortar physical stores on shaky grounds. As with all sectors, technology has stepped in as both the disruptor as well as the saving grace for small retailers struggling to save themselves from shut shop. Here are some prominent technology trends in 2021:

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As with all sectors, technology has stepped in as both the disruptor as well as the saving grace for small retailers struggling to save themselves from shut shop.

Interactive e-retailing

Since shopping behaviours of online consumers are continuously evolving, interactive e-tailing can make up for the lack of physical store browsing or the infamous window-shopping trends. Omnichannel software solutions are helping retailers enhance the shopping experience online.

Real-time Inventory monitoring

Gone are the days of physical inventory monitoring, especially since greater need for physical distancing has limited on-site staff. Accurate inventory monitoring involves 24×7 visibility on available SKU’s for all store locations. Real-time inventory monitoring systems are a technology trend which includes predictive analytics and report generation tools. It brings about automation in supply chain management for physical retailers. Real-time Inventory Monitoring is mostly driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that can provide forecasts.

Data Analytics in Retail

Data Analytics is a new technology trend set to drive operations that will assist in the creation and setting up of viable in-store layouts while relying on a data driven model to control and manage costs. Data Analytics can boost operations and ensure compliance for small retailers.

Image search tool for fashion retail

Image-based search engines are the newest technology trend, especially for fashion retail where online shoppers can upload images and obtain product recommendations based on the image processing. Image search engines are enhancing the user experience of online fashion shoppers since it eliminates the size and fit issues while buying clothes. 

Artificial Intelligence in Retail

We need to discuss the elephant in the room since the Artificial Intelligence for the Retail market is set to amass a market share of $20.05 B by 2026. Artificial Intelligence has multiple technology solutions under its wing for Retail including Natural Language Processing (NLP), Deep Learning, Payment Services Management, Virtual shopping assistant, Market Forecasting, Predictive Merchandising, and more. 

What’s in it for me?

New-age retail start-ups need to consider technology tools like AI, Big Data Processing, and Analytics. There can’t be bigger technology trends than these. End-to-end processes in retail are undergoing a transformation to be in line with these newest technology trends. 

Other technologies that retailers need to seriously look into include IoT, Virtual Reality and Visual Computing.

Start-ups venturing into retail at this point of time can survive and stay relevant if they look past the brick-and-mortar physicality of shopping. 

Anju Nambiar
Anju Nambiar
Anju has 5 years of experience covering business. She writes on startups, business life cycle and startup ecosystem. Her stints include Amazon and Adjetter Media Network.

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