Technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce, Manhattan Associates, has shared five key technology trends that will impact the Australian and New Zealand retail market in 2023.

“The Australian retail landscape will be significantly challenged in the year ahead. Limited stock, growing volumes of returns and increased customer expectations for online deliveries have substantially impacted local brands – pushing them to innovate,” Manhattan Associates managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Raghav Sibal said.

“As a result, retailers will find that they quickly need to adopt new systems and approaches to meet consumer demand for a seamless and more personalised shopping experience in 2023.”

Key retail technology trends for 2023 to watch include:

  1. Visibility at all times

The importance of ‘visibility’ will increase and expand to not only include products in motion, but also to product inventory in the store and warehouse. As market volatility continues, shippers will need to have the ability to react to ongoing disruption in near real-time; knowing exactly where inventory is at any point in time. Consumers now expect store associates to know stock availability/inventory to be able to serve them effectively. But only 6% of retailers believed that they had an accurate overview of their inventory across their entire network (in-store and online) 100% of the time. 

2. Automation and robotics

As labour continues to be a significant constraint, not least in the context of warehouses, automation and robotics proliferation will continue to accelerate as a result. While Manhattan Associates doesn’t expect robots to replace humans in key supply chain roles, there will be greater progress in man and machine collaboration, as more robots are developed that complement the human workforce by taking over mundane, repetitive tasks.

3. The rise of social platforms as marketplaces

Australian consumers are increasingly interacting with brands and purchasing goods via social media, and using Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook Pay. Companies are fast expanding their reach to younger demographics by exploring social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram as sales channels, in addition to traditional marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Manhattan Associates expects the proliferation of different social shopping platforms to accelerate at pace in 2023.

4. Unified commerce

The traditional store and its role in the retail ecosystem is in for a renaissance in 2023, as they become multi-functional spaces, going beyond display and selling to micro fulfilment, returns and customer service hubs. Retailers will need to look at technology and how they use it to connect their customers’ digital experience to the in-store retail experience seamlessly. It’s expected that stores will handle a larger share of online returns as retailers look for cost optimisations across their supply chains.

Manhattan Associates expects Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) as a fulfilment method to continue to increase as well. With retailers optimising their logistics costs in efforts to maintain margins for online sales, they will find ways to incentivise BOPIS; either by passing on the shipping charge or providing some discounts for BOPIS with the hope that this can reduce their overall shipping costs and increase store footfall at the same time.

5. An evolving payment landscape

Manhattan Associates expects the appetite for cashless payment options, e-wallets and crypto to continue to grow in 2023. As it grows it will be critical for companies to adopt and leverage these new technologies into their in-store and online systems to keep pace with digitally-savvy consumers. As the cost-of-living crisis continues, retailers will look to provide their customers with more flexible payment options. As such, ‘buy now pay later’ features will increase strongly in 2023.