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Disruptive Technologies Help Bridge Consumer, Retailer Divide

As technology gains momentum in the retail industry and consumers integrate more devices in their purchasing decisions, disrpution will be key for retailers to survive.

At NRF 2017, New York-based innovation accelerator XRC Labs featured a group of technology-focused startups. With the intent to help retailers, speakers from each Startup highlighted what brands could do to stay afloat in an evolving retail sector.

Strypes CEO Alexa Fleischman spoke about how personalization will come into play in the retail sector’s future.

“People want to represent their personal brand,” Fleischman said. “This is a consumer behavior that has been brewing for decades.”

According to Fleischman, the e-commerce experience has been failing consumers for quite some time. Instead of allowing shoppers to engage in the purchasing process, e-tailers have stripped away personalization and dictated product desires.

Strypes, unlike other solutions, turns the traditional product concept on its head. As a customizable platform, it allows shoppers to personalize their favorite brand. Through interactive in-store experience or on Strypes’ e-commerce platorm, consumers can use an easy design tool to add personal flair to apparel, accessories and footwear. 3-D printing technology is used to create personalized designs, so consumers can wear what they love without sacrificing their unique styles.

Consumers also desire better communication with retailers. Altough many retailers have invested millions in mobile apps, only five percent of consumers are actually utilizing them.

“If you are a retailer thinking about how to connect with consumers in 2017, you need to give people what they want,” Banter founder and CEO Joe Beninato said. “They want mobile messaging, so give it to them.”

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Should a problem arrise with a retailer, consumers dread speaking on the phone, which could take hours and not provide the proper solution. Banter streamlines communications between consumers and businesses. The platform’s AI technology allows consumers to contact businesses via SMS texting. With Banter, shoppers can inquire about information from retailers and recieve answers instantly.

Globalized commerce is also a boon for retailers that want to stay relevant in upcoming years. ShopShops founder and CEO Liyia Wu discussed how U.S. retailers can pursue China’s younger shopper demographic, which is highly open to worldwide markets.

“This new generation of Chinese shoppers are emerging as key border shoppers,” Wu said. “They are searching for fashion products that can express themselves rather than just showing off logos and they are frequent travelers who love to shop where they travel.”

When Chinese shoppers do take their purchasing interests globally,their retail experince is highly restrained, do to controlled media and the limited availabity of brands in China.

ShopShops resolves these issues and bridges the gap between U.S. retailers and young Chinese consumers. As an O2O e-commerce platform, ShopShops evokes a virtual shoppng experience and enables shoppers to internatonally browse and purchase products. On the platform, consumers can access the U.S. retail market from their homes or when they travel abroad.

By pursuing international consumers, including China’s young shopper demographic, retailers can take advantage of more worldwide market opportunites and stay relevant throughout retail’s transformation.

Old methology will no longer do for retailers. While the retail sector continues to change and incorporate more technology, retailers could invest in more personalization, digital communication and global expansion to stay strong throughout 2017 and for many years to come.