It is clear that retailers who either cannot or choose not to adapt with technological innovation will fall behind their competitors and consumer expectations.
This is the case across all areas of the sector: from small businesses to high-end luxury retailers to meet the demand for seamless buying processes that consumers have come to require.
When implemented successfully, technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous supply chains, and point-of-sale (POS) systems can transform sales and profits for retailers.
But these changes require significant investments which many businesses cannot make in the mire of the current global inflation crisis.
Along with the dizzying number of technologies that retailers must implement to keep pace, comes an inevitable cybersecurity threat.
Herein lies the causal paradox: technology can bring many benefits to businesses but also opens them up to hackers and fraud, problems which they can only be protected by from – you guessed it – technology.
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Retail technology as a paradox
A key issue for ecommerce retailers that has been ushered in by the prevalence of online shopping is fake or AI-generated reviews.
The World Economic Forum and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that the global fake reviews industry was worth a staggering $152bn in 2021 (of which $59bn was in the US).
A solution that has been presented for this is an AI tool that can identify fellow AI-generated content. Whether pitting AI machines against one another is a good thing remains a current topic of heated debate across the world, but businesses are caught in the centre of it whether they have implemented AI into their own operations or not.
Another major challenge for retailers is fraudulent attacks. A frequent tactic is returning an item bought online and swapping it with a different item or a fake copy. Recent data shows a 35% increase in false claims that an item never arrived in 2022 in Europe and a 68% increase in false claims about the condition of a product.
Again, a recommended solution for returns fraud involves implementing machine learning, which is a sub-field of AI.
Additionally, GlobalData finds that crucial retail technologies such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, ecommerce apps, and devices that carry customer and payment data are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
With technological challenges and opportunities being so closely intertwined, it’s no wonder that more than 60% of retail executives feel challenged to keep pace with the changing nature of demand and pressures in the post-pandemic market.
At the core of this is the ever-present mission to improve the customer experience which retailers must use as their guiding force to drown out any unnecessary noise.