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Retail, Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Interactive

If the Consumer Economy had a Gender, it Would be Female

Beth Bergmann
29 January, 2020
by Beth Bergmann


Happy strong young man lifting barbell above head with two handsToday, women are vastly underrepresented in the tech industry, but that’s all starting to change. This year’s NRF Retail Big show had several “heavy hitter” retail speakers from Nordstrom, Bonobos, and more, expanding on this topic. Alexandra Waldman, co-founder, and chief creative officer of Universal Standard joined the conversation. “We are at a tipping point. Everything is about to be different, and we want to be a part of that change.” 

As retail technology becomes more personal, it’s also becoming more targeted. According to Bloomberg.com, 70-80% of consumer purchasing is controlled by women. This kind of influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she still has a significant influence on someone else’s purchase. Although there are no concrete algorithms that substitute for human connection, AI and other digital tools are getting closer and more personal to each consumer demographic.

What does this mean for retail technology? Large beauty retailers like Ulta Beauty and Sephora have already incorporated AR kiosks that allow shoppers to virtually try on lipsticks, foundations, blushes, etc., before committing to a purchase. For select H&M stores in NYC, customers are able to virtually try on select t-shirts. The ROI on these advancements includes, but is not limited to:

  1. more accurate inventory management, 
  2. shortened fitting room lines & attracting more shoppers 
  3. reducing the number of returned items. 

These interactive technologies are revealing more about their female shoppers and what’s important to them. For example, the demand for natural and organic products has risen tremendously. In 2016, Persistence Market Research released market analysis report stating that the global natural cosmetics market was estimated to be worth $36 billion 2019.  Now that number is predicted to grow to $54 billion by 2027. Approximately 89% of those dollars come from female consumers.

All this to say that the need for women in technology is rising, and rightfully so. The increase in diversity and women in technology plays a massive role in the digital transformation because it offers retail technology a wide range of perspectives and creative thinking. Retailers worldwide that are hoping for future success are joining the bandwagon by diversifying their tech workforce, in order to foster a variety of creative perspectives. 



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