retail industry

The retail industry is undergoing a transformation driven by technological innovations that can enhance customer experience, streamline operations, and boost sales.  

Here are five groundbreaking tech inventions revolutionizing the retail landscape in 2024.  

1.      Dropshipping 

Dropshipping is a model which enables retailers to leave stocking, packing, shipping and delivering products to an outsourced third party – a ‘dropshipper.’ This has revolutionised e-commerce as it allows retailers to focus on selling their products online without having to worry about the order fulfilment process, which can be time-consuming and complicated. 

Virtualstock, founded by Ed Bradley, is Europe’s largest dropshipping and curated marketplace SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform. Its cutting-edge technology enables retailers to give their customers more product choices without them taking on any increased risk. The company also features a sophisticated order tracking system which saves retailers time and money in customer service. 

2.      AI-Powered Personalisation

AI is enabling the creation of highly personalised shopping experiences. By analysing large amounts of data, AI-powered systems can predict customer preferences and tailor recommendations, promotions, and communications accordingly. 

Amazon uses an AI powered recommendation engine which suggests products based on browsing history, purchase history, and other data points, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales.  

  1. AR Experiences

Augmented reality (AR) is transforming how customers interact with products both online and in physical stores. AR technology allows customers to visualise products in their own environment or try them on virtually, providing an immersive and engaging shopping experience. 

IKEA’s AR app, IKEA Place, allows customers to place virtual furniture in their homes to see how it fits and looks in their space. This app helps customers make informed decisions and reduces the likelihood of returns. 

  1. 4. Robotics and Automation

Robotics and automation are streamlining various aspects of retail operations, from warehouse management to in-store services. These technologies increase efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance the overall customer experience. 

Walmart is using robots in its warehouses to automate the picking and packing process, speeding up order fulfilment and reducing errors. It also uses autonomous shelf-scanning robots in stores to check for pricing errors and monitor inventories. 

According to Harvard Business Review, the biggest benefit that robots present to retail is the opportunity to capture detailed data about products on shelves and customer buying patterns, which will improve inventory management and increase efficiency. 

  1. Cashierless Retail

Cashierless systems, also known as autonomous checkout or frictionless checkout, allow customers to shop and pay for items without the need for human cashiers. 

Microsoft’s Grabango offers technology that can be integrated into existing stores to enable cashierless checkout experiences. Grabandgo site the fact that adults spend 32.89 days of their lives waiting in grocery store lines. They aim to change this by removing the need to queue at checkout, allowing customers to use an app to checkout instead. ALDI has just partnered with Grabandgo to provide their supermarket customers with checkout-free shopping. 


The retail industry continues to face many challenges in 2024. Virtualstock founder Ed Bradley notes that retailers will face challenges, including high interest rates, inflation, consumer caution and geopolitical instability affecting supply chains. 

What’s clear is that retailers need to work harder than ever to continue to draw consumers in, and implementing burgeoning technologies is a great way to do this. This doesn’t have to mean focusing solely on e-commerce. Retailers can use emerging technologies such as AI and VR in their physical stores, too.