The launch of 5G has opened a new era of interconnection and experience, which may change the face of the retail industry. The series of advancements it supports should alleviate many of the challenges faced by retailers during the epidemic. The launch of the 5G network supports retailers moving towards providing a seamless omni-channel experience. By creating a more in-depth personalized experience, retailers can achieve increased sales. The efficiency improvements supported by 5G will help increase operating profit margins.

5G marks the arrival of a new era of mobile communication, which will change the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. Thanks to a significant reduction in time delay and a significant increase in speed, it can support more devices to simultaneously access the Internet.  Retailers can lead a new era of experience-driven innovation by connecting people and everything.

The retail industry is expected to achieve innovation in the following four areas.

  1. Immersive shopping experience: 5G supports a series of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions. These solutions can provide immersive experiences that change the way consumers interact with products. The speed increase achieved by 5G makes virtual commerce possible. In this way, consumers can see products in the real world, thereby expanding the scale of digital touch-points. Digital commerce has created many novel shopping experiences, further blurring the boundaries between physical and digital retail experiences. When consumers plan to renovate their homes, they no longer need to go to a home furnishing store. Instead, they can sit down and experience a new sofa and see what it will look like when placed at home. This immersive 3D experience will completely change the concept of “try before you buy” and make a personalized digital experience a reality.
  2. Contactless shopping: This trend will continue after the epidemic, and 5G will provide support for its next improvement. Seamless mobile payment and shopping will become a reality, and customers will no longer need to interact with sales staff. The voice-activated digital video display can automatically perform many functions previously assumed by the store staff.
  3. Stores without cashiers: 5G RFID tags enable retailers to expand the scale of deployment of cashierless stores in various retail environments. Retailers have the ability to increase the number of devices and personnel connected to the network, ultimately gaining the technology and price points needed to transform the concept into a mainstream solution, including large wholesale stores and supermarkets.
  4. Store inventory and logistics: Thanks to 5G capabilities, retailers’ cloud back-end systems can now be accessed in real time, thereby improving performance. Sensors will be deployed on shelves to transmit information in real time to ensure continuous and accurate monitoring of inventory levels and equipment locations. Consumers are therefore able to click and receive orders without causing any unplanned delays or out-of-stocks that lead to loss of customers.

The increased bandwidth of 5G provides all-round visibility for the entire supply chain, eliminates most of the friction in the existing process, and reduces losses such as inventory shrinkage. By providing retailers with enhanced data on usage patterns, operations are further simplified and inventory waste is reduced.

In addition to the innovations brought about by 5G, the complexity of the retail system has also increased significantly. Now, retailers do not need to evaluate individual components, but need to test the entire ecosystem to ensure that it meets customer expectations. In order to get real returns from the innovations supported by 5G, retailers must rethink how to test and monitor the performance of digital experiences.

Facing the end of the retail industry, retail brands are struggling. The emergence of 5G networks has brought a glimmer of hope for them to create a deeper digital experience, which will have a positive impact on profits.