Shopping and retail tech in the modern age move at the speed of the internet, and retailers – both big box and boutique – need to evolve to keep up.
The tech that powers personalized shopping experiences, marrying online and in-store data, and cashier-less checkout are only as effective as the engineers behind the scenes.
Trend #1: Digital-First Shopping
While the retail market had already seen a shift away from brick-and-mortar shopping in the early 2010s, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 cemented the turn towards online shopping.
Shoppers by and large are no longer walking into physical stores for their goods, instead, they are logging onto their computers with credit cards in hand.
Companies whose digital presence does not present an attractive and easy-to-use platform to users will inevitably suffer in the digital-first modern age and be left in the dust by big-box retailers who offer ease of use.
Faced with the urgent pressure to digitize, retail tech teams need to modernize their online platforms and will need a technically trained team to keep up.
TIP: Invest in Skilled Engineers
So, how do retailers build out a technical team to get your digital storefront live and profitable? Sourcing recent graduates from technical training institutions can help ensure that new hires are up to date on the newest software, platforms, and best practices in the online marketplace.
Over the past 10 years, top retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have hired our graduates across all disciplines including Software Engineering, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and UX / UI Product Design.
Trend #2: Mobile Commerce
Going hand in hand with the shift to online-first shopping is mobile apps for on-the-go convenience. Customer touch points now feature everything from brand-owned mobile apps to social media platforms, each of which is a chance for retailers’ brand messaging to reinforce customer loyalty.
But, in a crowded app market with dozens of competitors vying for screen time, how can a retailer increase downloads, user engagement, and – most important of all – mobile conversions?
TIP: Revamp UX / UI For Seamless Shopping
UX / UI design is a critical success factor in mobile commerce, one that Data Scientists are tackling by connecting data points from multiple systems and gaining actionable one-to-one insights at scale.
For brand-owned mobile apps, this is often where the most loyal (and profitable) customers aggregate. User experience and user interface can make or break mobile viability, and nothing bottoms out an app’s performance faster than a difficult-to-use interface.
Retailers should utilize UX / UI Product Designers to revamp user interfaces and imbue brand-owned mobile apps with easy-to-use features to ensure a seamless experience that will keep users coming back.
Trend #3: Cybersecurity For The Digital Age
While not a new topic and certainly not unique to retailers, recent cybersecurity trends and high-profile breaches have resulted in several pain points for brands that hold personally identifiable information (PII).
With the shift towards remote/hybrid working, many retailers are realizing new or increased vulnerabilities including cloud hosting platforms, number of access points, more frequent cyber attacks, and a lack of internal resources struggling to keep up.
In the digital age where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm retailers, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.
TIP: Upskill Cybersecurity Teams
Essential cybersecurity skills for the digital age include SQL, which attackers could use to steal confidential data, compromise data stores, and execute web-based attacks, as well as Python, which helps to scan and analyze malware, and Java, which can be used in penetration (pen) testing.
For retailers to ensure their databases are secure, recruiting cybersecurity professionals with up-to-date and relevant skills or upskilling in-house teams is critical.
Partnering with established training organizations to hire top-level graduates can help retailers build out a team that is up to date with current technology and regulations.
Alternatively, retraining or cross-training existing employees can be a more financially effective option. Utilize technical training organizations to address technical skill gaps on your team and build on existing internal expertise.
Custom-Tailored Solutions For Retailers
For retailers to keep up in the modern age, skilled technical teams, whether comprised of new hires or upskilled current employees, are critical to long-term viability and profitability.
If your organization is building out a technical team, there are some must-have skills sets to look for:
- Back-End Developer: Java, Ruby, Python, SQL
- Data Scientist: Python, SQL, Java
- Data Analyst: Java, Python
- Cybersecurity Risk Specialist / Analyst: SQL, Python, Java
- Product Designer: UX, UI, ethical and inclusive design
- UX Designer: UX (user experience), ethical and inclusive design
- UI Designer: UI (user interface), ethical and inclusive design
But, retailers are busy, and sifting through a mountain of applications takes time. To ease organizations into the digital age with qualified employees, Flatiron School teaches the skills and disciplines retailers’ technical department teams need to keep up.
|Software Engineering||Data Science||Product Design||Cybersecurity|
|Website Development & Management||X||X|
|Virtual Dressing Rooms||X||X|
|Marrying Online & Offline Data||X|
|Brand-Owned Mobile Apps||X||X|
|Mobile Social Commerce||X|
|Sophisticated Pricing Algorithms||X||X|
|Increased Shipment / Delivery Speed With Drones, Other Tech||X|
To see how technical recruiting, upskilling and retaining, or hire-to-train programs offered by Flatiron School can help level up your retail tech team, visit our retail industry page.
Need something special? Talk to our team of retail tech experts about how we can build a curriculum to fit your organization’s needs.