Retail Tech Thursday: Christmas goes online this year

Retail Tech Thursday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful retail and retail technology news, innovations and trends.

This week, as it’s looking ever more likely that the UK’s high streets and retail parks are going to be hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we look at the latest reports on UK consumer behaviour and retail trends, as well as a new AI-driven product identification tech called Tiliter, that’s just raised its latest round of investment funding.

Christmas goes online this year

Firstly, The Times reports that Christmas shoppers in Ireland have been making mad dashes for gifts this week before the onset of what is expected to be a protracted retail lockdown in the run-up to the busy holiday season.

“Retail workers spent yesterday dealing with hoards of Christmas shoppers getting in ahead of the six-week closure of all non-essential shops,” The Times reports.

One Christmas shopper told them: “I don’t think for a second that shops will be back open in December. I think this is us set now for the rest of the year — maybe they will let families travel for Christmas but that’s it.”

Consumer shopping trends in the age of COVID

Elsewhere, the latest poll of 1022 UK shoppers from ChannelAdvisor on “Consumer Shopping Trends in the Age of COVID-19” reveals more on how the effects of COVID-19 are making their mark on the retail industry, with online becoming the new window shopping and ‘high street hesitation’ levels higher than ever.

“As we enter a new phase in the pandemic, it’s never been more important to understand where consumers are spending their time and money,” the site reports. “Now, as the industry prepares for the festive peak season, we bring you the third instalment of our Consumer Shopping Trends in the Age of COVID-19 research where we uncover how consumers are feeling 6 months into the pandemic.”

Unsurprisingly, the poll reveals that Amazon is still the most popular online retailer of choice amongst most UK shoppers and, interestingly, notes that there has been a 7% increase in those UK consumers shopping online more frequently since most stores reopened earlier this summer, following the first UK lockdown back in late March. See the infographic of the poll results over at ChannelAdvisor.

New AI product recognition tech

Finally, new retail technology startup Tiliter, an AI-driven product recognition system for cashierless shopping, announced this week that it raised $7.5M in its latest investment round. This latest funding round for Tiliter shows that retail tech investor demand for innovative emerging companies remains strong.

Tiliter’s AI tech uses computer vision to recognise products without barcodes, automatically identifying items, such as fresh produce, without the need for barcodes, packaging, and price stickers, making it easier for shoppers to manage during self-checkout.

“With retailers increasingly offering self-checkout and mobile-checkout options, Tiliter’s technology makes it easier and faster for customers to complete their transactions, reduces fraud, costs, and waste for businesses, and addresses the need for contactless purchases in a COVID-19 world,” the company announced. “This can all be done with limited integration and no changes to the retailer’s IT infrastructure.

Tiliter plans to use the latest funding to accelerate its expansion across Europe and the U.S., with many supermarkets apparently set to unveil Tiliter’s product recognition technology over the coming months.

For more check out www.tiliter.com