When we talk about retailers, only a few specific brands come to mind. The unfortunate truth is that many of the retailers of old have failed to adapt and have faced bankruptcy or closure. Retailers today have had to transform their businesses in order to compete and survive against the remaining retail giants such as Amazon.
For smaller retailers and businesses, the challenges are both daunting and many. 5G offers some new opportunities for these SMEs to meet these challenges. However, they must be willing to commit to change along with the times.
Many might not realise that 5G has the potential to reshape the retail industry. With a 5G network in place, larger quantities of data can be transferred and a much faster rate. The practical applications of this can be seized by retailers to gain a competitive advantage; or just stay afloat among a rapidly changing retail and consumer landscape.
For some, 5G will enable them to apply automation in order to improve customer experience, enhance customer retention, and thus maximise market share and profits.
The main advantage that 5G will provide over 4G is it’s speed. Data can be accumulated faster, thus allowing brick & mortar stores to gain valuable insight into their customers’ preferences and habits. Such tech will also allow augmented reality to play a bigger part in the customer experience; allowing shoppers to virtually try on the items they are considering. Such an interactive experience will prove invaluable, particularly, in the wake of the recent pandemic, when customers may be wary of entering crowded dressing rooms where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
In general, 5G will also enable retailers to keep in contact with customers more efficiently through the dissemination of more customised and personalised information. Outside the store, passers-by can walk past the storefront and receive text messages informing them of discounts, not on the store inventory in general but rather on products that data shows will be relevant to them.
In a world ravaged by a pandemic, a “new normal” is forming. Customers are becoming more mindful of physical contact and are limiting interactions with employees who may be crossing paths with thousands of people every day. If retailers can capture the potential intrinsic to 5G, there will be a clear symbiotic benefit: efficiency for the retailer, and a more interactive experience–as well as faster service–for the consumer.