7 Retail Technologies Worth Watching In 2022

Forbes | January 11, 2022

Being out-of-touch is totally in, QR codes are quickly finding a new home and robots are strolling the line between novelty and value. This is what retail innovation will look like in 2022. Funding for retail technology reached a record $29 billion in the first quarter of 2021, as retailers and tech companies sought to blend online and in-store experiences, personalize interactions at every point and elevate their fulfillment processes to make it all possible, as fast as possible.

Technologies in which retailers will likely increase their investments this year.

Here are five:

1. “Can’t touch this” innovation. The market for touchless technology is predicted to reach $15.3 billion in 2025, from $6.8 billion in 2020. In 2020, 67% of all retailers were offering some form of no-touch payments, including tap-and-go credit cards and mobile wallets. By spring of 2021, 72% of consumers were using contactless payments some or most of the time. Expect this highly convenient option to become more seamless, as in Amazon Go cashier-less locations. Next step: Optical gesture recognition – software that can interpret hand symbols and other gestures.

2. Quick-response codes. For a time, QR codes appeared to be doomed to the “Island of Lost Tech”; they couldn’t find a stable home. In 2022, 5.3 billion QR-coded coupons are expected to be redeemed via mobile, according to Juniper Research. Several retailers, including Lacoste and Zara, use QR codes to send personalized mobile offers in-store, link to digital shopping through televised ads or to promote items in shop windows. And prestige brands have found them effective as unique identifying codes that help prevent product counterfeits – a growing issue.

3. Cybersecurity that’s always on duty. Hackers are getting smarter, so smart retailers must focus their security investments on proven, faster-detecting technologies.

4. Upstream livestreaming. The phenomenon of live, interactive online sales events hosted by celebrities or influencers is expected to gain traction in 2022.

5. Dark stores that enlighten paths. Many dark stores have been retrofitted to accommodate curbside pickup and in-store pickup, in addition to delivery. These consumer-focused innovations position dark stores to become leading contributors to ecommerce growth through 2022.

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