Composable commerce to smart checkout: 4 retail trends to watch in 2022

Dan Hibbins
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New retail technologies are emerging faster than ever. To keep up with changing customer expectations, retailers must be agile and embrace innovation. 

Here are some trending technologies retailers need to stay one step ahead of their competitors and delight their customers. 

1. Composable commerce

Retailers can’t afford to be shackled to slow-moving legacy IT. They need the ability to move quickly and at scale.  Composable commerce is a great solution. It’s a modular approach to digital commerce where you choose the best solutions for your needs and piece them together for a tailor-made technology stack.

It means you can use solutions from multiple software providers who’re specialists in their field rather than purchasing from one provider who’s created a generalist solution with basic functionality.  

You’ll hear complex-sounding terms around composable commerce – like microservices, headless, and Jamstack – but don’t let them put you off. The concept is simple. You can cherry-pick the best solutions for your business and add, remove, or change them as your business evolves because the solutions are independent. 

Using composable commerce gives retailers the agility to respond quickly to sudden shifts in the retail landscape, so it’s a good way to set yourself up for future success. 

“By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation." – Gartner 

Read the 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics. Discover how to  transform your data into targeted marketing. 

2. Smart checkouts

Another key trend that’s set to cause disruption is smart checkouts. Also known as cashier-less stores or just walk out stores, shoppers simply pick up what they need and leave without having to queue at the checkout. 

Customers sign in to the store with their smartphones, scan their credit cards, and start shopping. Cameras and weight sensors track items they pick off the shelves, and automatically charge them when they leave. Smart checkouts provide a smoother customer experience and allow you to recover lost sales from customers who abandon shops due to long wait times.  

Smart checkouts are already being trialled by the likes of Amazon with their Amazon Go stores. And consumers have had a positive response - 54% of consumers described their in-store experience as “excellent,” and 35% thought it was “good.”

Led by this example, we’ll almost certainly see more physical stores going cashier-less as retailers strive to provide frictionless shopping experiences to their customers.

3. One-to-one personalization

Consumers demand hyper-personalized shopping experiences. 91% of consumers are more likely shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations

Now, thanks to advances in technology, it’s getting easier for retailers to provide this personalization. For example, with retail marketing analytics solutions, you can consolidate all your customer data in one place and analyze it. You can get individualized customer insights and use them to deliver targeted campaigns.

If you choose an intuitive solution that allows you to analyze data in real time, it’ll be easy to create one-to-one experiences for your customers that go far beyond simply adding their first name to an email. 

We expect to see more retailers delivering hyper-personalization across their customer journeys. Anyone wanting to be truly customer-first has to incorporate this into their customer experiences. 

4. Buy online, pick up in-store 

The buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) model allows customers to place orders for products online and pick them up in-store, usually on the same day. It’s another reason why retailers should focus on delivering seamless, omnichannel experiences.

The BOPIS trend took off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, just 6.9% of the top 500 retailers offered curbside pick-up. By August 2020 44% of them did. 

Adopting this approach saves retailers shipping costs, encourages impulse in-store purchases, and presents an opportunity to promote related products and relevant offers. BOPIS gives customers instant gratification, saves them money on delivery costs, and helps them avoid crowds and queues.

But the main perk of BOPIS is the ability to fulfil orders faster – it bridges the benefits gap between online and in-store shopping. If you need an item tomorrow, not next week, BOPIS. If you want an item but don’t want to pop in-store without knowing it's in stock, BOPIS.

To embrace this model, retailers must have full visibility of their inventory and it must update in real-time. Customers want to browse products online and accurately see which are in-stock in-store to avoid any disappointment. Only this way will BOPIS deliver on customer expectations for a seamless shopping experience.   

Composable commerce to smart checkout – which will you implement first?

These trends aren’t going anywhere, so it’s a matter of when, not if, you’ll need them to stay relevant. If you’re thinking about what to prioritize in your organisation, remember to build a foundation for future success. If your systems don’t allow you to provide seamless omnichannel experiences, build the right tech stack with composable commerce. If you have physical and online stores but they’re not connected, think about implementing BOPIS. As long as you’re putting your customers first, you’ll see progress.

The 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics


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