When we look back at 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an inevitable surge in leveraging digital technologies due to the social distancing norms and nationwide lockdowns. Ever since then, people and organizations across the globe have had to adjust to new ways of working and living.
The coronavirus outbreak also led to an expedition of digital adoption. As a result of digitization, the transition to work-from-home (WFH) has caused a rapid revolution in businesses across industries, and the retail sector is no exception. New-age technologies are becoming increasingly significant, necessitating design and regulatory study.
However, technology is changing the way every small, medium and large business in the retail industry does business by helping to increase efficiencies, save money, and provide better products and services. Retail businesses that were still on the fence about adopting digital solutions have now woken up to all the benefits digital can drive, and are looking to accelerate their advantages.
Digital Adoption in the Retail Industry
Fast forward to today, technological advancement in the retail industry has opened up a whole new era of possibilities by bringing the online and offline worlds ever closer together.
AI/ML - The retail industry is pioneering the way to stronger business outcomes thanks to digital transformation. In this voyage, Artificial Intelligence is reshaping the retail industry, from computer vision to real-time consumer engagement. As a result, merchants have been eager to use AI to better interact with their consumers, enhance their processes, and increase their efficiency.
More than ever, the retail industry understands the value of digital-driven technologies, particularly the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) in addressing long-standing issues like broken supply chains, unexpected contactless distribution demands, and reduced spending.
Retailers may benefit from these technologies, which include predictive demand-supply visibility, dynamic pricing, counterfeit detection, customer hyper-segmentation, and the capacity to respond to real-time demand signals. If we sum up the facts and figures, the retail industry is likewise dealing with long-standing challenges, and AI is expected to be a feasible solution.
IoT - The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of billions of physical objects that communicate and share data. The Internet of Things (IoT) offers enormous potential for the retail industry, giving a method to create even more engaging and inventive shopping experiences - this was highlighted by Statista in its recent report, which states that the IoT market will generate $951.50 million in sales by the end of 2022. The market revenue is predicted to rise at a 9.71 percent annual rate (CAGR 2022-2027), resulting in a market volume of $1,512.00 million by 2027.
Hence, it would be appropriate to say that, IoT is already being put to good use in a variety of industries, including the retail sector, which is utilizing technology to its advantage.
AR/VR - Virtual Reality devices are becoming increasingly popular. According to a joint Snap and Deloitte study, by 2025, approximately 75 percent of the global population and virtually all social app users will be frequent augmented reality users. This is why retailers are using virtual and augmented reality to improve the consumer experience in a variety of ways. The reality extension is already used by many stores today for everything from browsing items to digitally ‘porting’ them. Thus, this trend will pick up pace in the time to come.
In the future, though, AR and VR technologies will enable customers to try out new products from the comfort of their own homes, enhancing the customer experience and taking it to the next level.
READ MORE: How AR, VR, and Metaverse Helping the Retail Industry Transform
Blockchain - Despite the fact that many retailers provide seamless shopping, their physical storefronts generate the majority of their earnings. Following the pandemic, however, merchants had several challenges, including managing the supply chain, selling items, establishing stores, and keeping all customers and staff safe.
This could have all been prevented if the industry used blockchain technology from the beginning. In actuality, blockchain's dependability, durability, and quality tracking and assisting in management procedures may provide the ultimate digitalization that retail companies want.
The Web Development Platform - The transition from offline to online stores in the retail industry has gone through a paradigm shift over the years. Factors such as a change in consumer behavior, proliferated channels, gone-down income rates, and tech-savvy consumers have made it impossible for the stores to manage without technology.
With interactive retail web development, businesses offer consumers ease of buying as well as convenience. However, retail web development solutions provide operational excellence across geographies and provide outstanding customer-centric insight.
Advantages of Digital Adoption
CX Transformation - Customer experiences are influenced and improved through digital transformation. Employee productivity is increased and services are enhanced more efficiently with the use of technical solutions. This not only guarantees that clients receive high-quality services, but also that they have a pleasant purchasing experience. While digital transformation is oriented towards the client, it also assists the firm in improving and staying ahead of the competition.
Improved Marketing - Digital Transformation in retail is altering the way businesses communicate with their clients in the most efficient way possible in order to target particular customer profiles, as well as increase client-side contact with the firm. However, it benefits the product, service, and organization.
In-Depth Data Collection and Analysis for Actionable Insights - In retail, big data plays an important role. Big data forecasts demands, optimizes pricing and company operations, as well as customizes your offer to stay ahead of the consumer. Meet the requirements and provide insights into customer behavior as well as predict trends.
Ability to Reach Newer Customer Segments who were Previously Far Away from Brick-and-Mortar Stores - Thanks to digital platforms and marketing solutions, retailers who were operating with legacy brick-and-mortar stores can not only take their businesses online but also reach customers who previously could not visit them in person. Online stores enable large and small retailers to truly go global, offer their products to people who didn’t know anything about them before, and get unprecedented returns.
The Bottom Line!
The pandemic increased the number of people purchasing online. The majority of customers chose online shopping to maintain a social distance, avoid lines at supermarkets and other stores, and spend less time outside.
The rapid growth of online retail in India may be ascribed to a rise in the size of the e-commerce sector, a favorable government policy of 100 percent FDI flows into e-commerce, and an expanding base of digital purchasers. By 2027, the e-commerce business is expected to achieve a market value of $200 billion. Furthermore, it can be rightly said that the retail sector has undergone a digital transformation in the truest sense and this was primarily fueled by the pandemic.