With the holiday shopping season behind us, the retailers in North America have a lot to cheer about. The latest Mastercard's SpendingPulse indicates that retail had the "best" season in six years, with overall sales growing 5.1%, with online shopping alone going up a whooping 19%.
But the industry analysts temper our expectations as we enter 2019. This is because the face of the retail market is quickly evolving, and businesses must adapt strategies to new shifts in technology, demographics, attitudes and consumer preferences.
Physical stores are becoming customer experience centers to attract omnichannel shoppers, like myself. Digital commerce and mobile applications are being fully integrated into retailers’ increasingly complex IT platforms. In most areas of the world, mobile shopping now comprises more than 50 percent of online transactions. Internet of Things (IoT) devices, like beacons and inventory tracking systems, are becoming mainstream. Finally, data analytics are now driving sales strategies and big data will play an even bigger role than it does today.
With these trends toward omnichannel engagement comes a greater demand for speed and capacity, placing a greater demand on network infrastructure. And 5G can be just what the retailers need to help them with the digital transformation.
A 5G network architecture for retail will enable an intelligent, dynamic communications platform. Cloud technology is essential to the new 5G network architecture platform for ensuring the flexibility, scalability and universal availability of both data and intelligence. This platform will be able to program, automate and dynamically connect all the individual retail systems, processes, and activities. Integrated, real-time analytics, machine-learning, and AI support for innovative applications and services and enable retailers to offer personalized, experiences to the shoppers in-store and on-line.
5G networks will empower technologies that can transform the shopping experience, such as personalized digital displays and signage, secure, individual cloud-based POS systems, interactive kiosks with advanced haptic AR/VR functions, video and pattern recognition of shoppers, and interactive mobile apps powered by AI bots. 5G powered tactile Internet technology, like the one Nokia is showcasing on Booth 2250 at NRF 2019, January 13-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, will brings us smart haptic dressing rooms, where you can try on and feel the garment texture over the Internet.
Inventory analytics powered by 5G-enabled data processing can automatically analyze current and historical inventory data, predict demand, suggest alternate suppliers, and identify the need to re-balance inventory across the retail network.
Nokia is working with all major service providers to roll the new 5G network architecture and we can help prepare retail customers to take advantage of the fast-approaching transition to 5G networks, to seamlessly merge online and in-store presences to deliver consistent, personalized marketing messages and new, sticky shopping engagements. With 5G network launches in the New Year, I can’t wait to see what exciting shopping experience the year 2019 will bring us.
Visit Nokia and Verizon at NRF 2019 in New York, January 13-15 in Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Booth 2055 and meet our specialists to be inspired about the possibilities 5G will bring to your business.
Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia and @nokianetworks using #NRF2019 #5G