Technology innovations drive businesses forward.  With today’s consumer as tech-savvy as ever, retail and foodservice companies continuously have to adapt. Strong trends from 2015 will continue into next year, while new concepts will also shape the retail and foodservice environments.

  • Business Intelligence and Data Analytics – the hyper competitive market for most businesses has prompted leaders to expand thought processes for intelligence. Predictive analytics and forecasting should be at the top of many decision makers’ processes, especially when sound data is incorporated into models. Integrating location intelligence for competitive purposes and site selection will also be essential.
  • The Internet of Things – the excitement around this concept is growing, mostly because of its enormous potential. The Internet of Things involves sophisticated machine-to-machine communication, with an ideology that tech objects will be able to ‘talk’ to one another. Sensors and software aboard the objects collect and exchange data, instantaneously connect, and gather within a cloud-based infrastructure to enable analysis and/or decision making.  The proposition of making many daily tech objects ‘smart’ with an ability to predict outcomes is both exciting and challenging. Of all the trends leading into 2016, The Internet of Things might have the most potential for years beyond.
  • Mobile Shopping, Payment Systems, and Advertising – perhaps unsurprisingly, mobile shopping hit an all-time high during the most recent holiday shopping season.  More retailers and restaurant chains are reporting integrating mobile applications, while also integrating mobile payments including Apple Pay, among others. Announced in December, Walmart will introduce its own mobile-payment system with hopes to deploy the technology at all 4,600+ stores after the holidays. The reason for the shift is simple, as many shoppers are embracing the technology because of its convenience. An increased amount of mobile shoppers can lead to more opportunities for consumer brand engagement. Integrating a comprehensive mobile strategy is crucial for any retailer in 2016.
  • Cyber Security – one of the most important internal processes any retailer must handle is the integrity and security of its customer data. Recent data breaches like the highly publicized Home Depot and Target cyber-attacks have business investing heavily into IT security.
  • Online Shopping Overtaking Brick and Mortar – while still the staple of most retail establishments, traditional brick and mortar store locations are the backbone of the industry and hold an important, if not essential role for today’s consumer. However, if this year’s Black Friday results are any indication, the pendulum could be moving quickly. This year marked the first that online shopping dollars eclipsed those of in-store sales. Gone are the days of necessary mad-dashes to retail stores the day after Thanksgiving (or now the day of) for the best deals. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of online shopping combined with increasingly fast shipping have caused a monumental shift in the way consumers purchase goods.