Retail is one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries in India. The rise of digital retail channels supported by rising incomes, increasing urbanization, favorable demographics, and entry of foreign players, and knowledgeable buyers are preparing the industry to witness a big revolution. And while every organization and every business has adopted technology in its own way, retail is one industry that has been impacted the most by the undercurrent of digital transformation.
Digital transformation is not simply about technology. It requires business leaders to re-envision existing business models and embrace a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes to create value for their customers. It is about leveraging huge amounts of data via Machine Learning and Intelligence to open new opportunities for their organizations
Cloud Computing has enabled retail businesses to offer a more personalized customer experience while cutting down on IT costs and simplifying the processes. Cloud technologies help retailers improve the restocking capabilities, enterprise-wide supply chain visibility, real-time production cycle monitoring, and much more. Above all, the technology offers scope for simplifying and automating most of the processes thereby improving the turnaround time for almost every business unit within the organization.
Business owners having multiple sales channels including brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce platforms, and their own websites will need to sync both online and offline transactions, inventory, and other related promotions. So, the integration of POS with e-commerce will be an optimal solution both during and after the pandemic.
Virtual Trial Rooms are another addition to the retail industry. The digital screen on your smartphone helps you to see yourself and try different combinations without the actual trials. Multiple new modes of contactless payment options are also in use at various retail stores. Paperless, e-invoicing, and self-billing kiosks are features that are becoming a vital part of the new normal.
Advertising and marketing will also see a drastic shift from our regular mediums like newspaper, outdoor and electronic medium to digital marketing solutions. Promoting your brand through the celebrities and influencers on digital platforms like Instagram, Facebook is in vogue and the current crop of young consumers feel more aligned with the same as compared to the old practices of advertisement.
Even the product category especially in the apparel retail industry has seen a dramatic change due to the work from home culture. Casual clothing and athleisure have taken over the regular office wear clothing.
The surge in online shopping is here to stay, especially given the hurdles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping experiences on a social media platform offer buyers an even more seamless way to shop. Just by clicking on a third-party website, users can make purchases from the social media app or site. Shops are custom storefronts for businesses on the social media marketplace. Sellers can create collections of featured products, as well as modify the look of their virtual shops with banners, images, colors, and buttons. The Shop can be accessed from both Facebook and Instagram, so once it’s set up brands have the potential to reach a wide global audience.
Audience trusts in brands that showcase authentic voices. Brands that don’t prioritize authenticity in their influencer partnerships can expect a drop in high engagement and ROI. It’s time to focus on unique influencer content that prioritizes entertainment and viewer experience.
Transparency, values, and ethics have never been more important to shoppers which means brands need to prioritize them. It seems like customer expectations for shipping times are only getting faster. First came 2-day delivery via the rise of Amazon Prime, then next-day, then same-day. But in the age of instant turnaround, shoppers who want their orders ASAP or same-day, store-fulfilled orders are seeing more traction from customers and brands alike.
As Covid-19 has limited in-person experiences, more and more companies have embraced chatbots and personal assistants. The retail industry was already using this technology before the pandemic.
For companies maintaining physical locations, it’ll be crucial to distinguish themselves from online retailers by providing unique in-store experiences. Though the reality is that brick-and-mortar stores will sell less, they have the opportunity to provide value by strengthening customers’ relationships with the brand.