7 Digital Trends Retail Businesses Should Embrace in 2020

Retail Nov 11, 2019

Online retail is a fast and dynamic landscape that is constantly evolving. Early adaptors of digital trends typically win. Thus, staying ahead of the latest trends is the best weapon for retail businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

Here at Zoolatech, we are always excited to work on projects that are in sync with the latest tendencies. With that experience behind us, we've analyzed our retail projects from the previous year to give you the top seven digital trends that retail businesses should embrace in 2020.

1. Prescriptive Analytics

Today, successful retail companies cannot prosper online without solid facts, metrics, and up-to-date data. Analytics is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to increase revenue. Mostly thanks to using big data analytics for retail decisions, Amazon's net income more than tripled from 2017 and reached $10.1 billion in 2018.

The recent 2019 Lateryx and RetailAire survey of nearly 350 retailers discovered that 81% of respondents gather shopper insights.

In 2020, the trend is likely to cover more than 90% of retail businesses. However, it's also likely that we will see more and more companies making use of prescriptive analytics.

Prescriptive analytics is a proactive approach for retailers that uses data from the past to predict expected sales growth due to changes in customer behaviors and market trends. Prescriptive analytics works with artificial intelligence techniques and processes a tremendous amount of data. As a result, it can help retail businesses to:

● improve customer experience
● get more "aha" customer insight moments
● make better strategic decisions
● improve operational performance
● reduce costs
● predict demand
● prevent fraud

One of our top projects in 2019 was Nordstrom, a Fortune 500 fashion retailer. We created interactive dashboards that the management uses to analyze the funnel on all platforms. This complex solution showed the importance of data analysis; only careful examination of user data can lead to great transformations. There's no way businesses can ignore analytics in 2020.

Roman Kaplun, CEO, Zoolatech

2. Omnichannel Performance

Online analytics combined with on-site performance is an excellent way of creating a seamless omnichannel experience for customers.

Specialists in the field estimate that companies which create the perfect omnichannel experience and combine it with data analytics can increase their shareholder's value by up to 8.5x its original value.

Beauty brand Sephora is already leading the omnichannel trend with its membership
program, Sephora Beauty Insiders. Users of their app can tap into the Beauty Bag on their phone or desktop and gain access to a wealth of data.

They then can shop, view their favorites list, look at any of their past purchases, check how many rewards points they have, scan items in-store to see other options available online, watch tutorial videos, and find a store nearby. This successful omnichannel marketing strategy has fostered 11 million members, who spend 15 times more money on sephora.com than the average shopper.

3. BOPIS

Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) is a good example of an area of innovation that is not new to retail, but could be set for a mass-market breakout in 2020. Several large retailers already adopted BOPIS early on, and have continued to refine their approaches and develop new ideas for how stores should be designed.

Nordstrom currently follows this trend and offers in-store pickup at more than 100 full-priced Nordstrom Local stores across the United States. The company has found that customers with in-store pickup spend, on average, two and a half times more than regular customers.

Shoppers themselves seem eager to adopt the new way of making purchases:


- more than 15% of US shoppers have already tried online pickup, and sales will hit $35 billion in 2020;
- over 40% of shoppers use BOPIS during holidays;
- 68% of surveyed US shoppers made multiple purchases with BOPIS.

The statistics show that in 2020, BOPIS could revolutionize your retail business. If this is something you're interested in, our friendly team can guide you through the whole process.

4. Cognitive Computing

Cognitive computing includes AR, VR, chatbots, or robot-assisted customer assistance, and it's a digital trend that is growing exponentially in 2020.

VR and AR encourage retailers to rethink every stage of the customer journey, from
marketing and product selection to store design and order fulfillment. It's fast becoming an invaluable tool for creative marketing and customer research, and as a testing ground to gather valuable shopper insights.


Two companies that are using VR and AR to reimagine the consumer experience are IKEA and Zalando. IKEA has recently developed an AR app that places fully rendered 3D models of their furniture in their customers' homes; there's no need to even go to the store. Moreover, all the digital furniture is resizable to fit any room's dimensions and can be observed from any angle, with various lighting effects.

Zalando uses the Algorithmic Fashion Companion (AFC) to offer digital outfit recommendations in real-time. More than 100 researchers work to provide a remote, personalized boutique experience for customers via their smartphones.

5. Hyper-Personalization

According to Epsilon's report, 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a brand that offers a personalized experience.

However, regular personalization is no longer enough as hyper-personalization becomes a significant digital trend.

Hyper-personalization uses a real-time context to understand what the customer may want to purchase at different points during their interaction with the brand. Although this trend has lots of potential, it is currently very technically demanding and not yet easily adoptable for the average retail business.

However, in 2019, we were fortunate enough to work on various hyper-personalized projects. We had great fun, and gained valuable experience with:

● personalization of all possible content (Homepage, Looks, Brands, etc.)
● showing new arrivals from favorite brands
● pre-selecting the customer's closest store
● pre-selecting Size on PDP
● detecting the customer's location automatically
● showing recommendations based on the customer's preferred size
● showing brands clients might like

If you want to get to the heart of your clients, go for hyper-personalization. We believe it is the future.

6. Cashless & Cardless Checkouts

The recent Paysafe Lost in Transaction survey revealed that 70% of millennials would refuse from cash in favor of other forms of payments. In response to this trend, many retail businesses now arrange simple cashless payments on-site.

One of the latest developments was recently introduced by 7-Eleven in Australia. The store now has no physical counters and customers scan goods and pay for them via the 7-Eleven app on their smartphone, which is linked to their credit or debit cards.

That's the way many retailers will try to arrange their shopping in 2020. In fact, 40% of North American retailers plan to introduce checkout-free shopping within the next two years.

7. Smart Beacons

Beacons will continue to spark innovation in 2020. The technology is quite simple: major brands place small beacon sensors around their stores. Those beacons connect to customers' phones via Bluetooth and then carry out whatever function they have been programmed to perform. Here are just a few possibilities:

  • serve advanced Google ads
  • notify customers about a nearby store
  • send messages about discounts and loyalty programs
  • suggest an app download
  • improve Google My Business listing

According to Global Market Insights, the beacon technology market is now expected to exceed $25 billion over the next five years.

Here at Zoolatech, we believe that the driving purpose behind retail trends in 2020 will be to elevate the consumer-retailer relationship by increasing personalization, transforming customers into adepts, and boosting their LTV.

Zoolatech Team

We are a team of technology addicts eager to transform our clients’ needs into efficient and innovative solutions through high-quality service and reliable customer support.

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