Retail After COVID-19, Digital Innovations and Emerging Trends

With businesses grinding to a halt, the concept of omnichannel commerce, often known as a hybrid business approach, has grown in popularity among offline retailers.
Retail After COVID-19, Digital Innovations and Emerging Trends

The pandemic forced all the businesses to rethink their operations, especially in light of the ‘new normal,’ in which consumers are adopting innovative shopping ways. COVID-19 has exposed retailers to a variety of obstacles and opportunities. It has given retailers a mandate to speed up their digital transformation plans and adjust their customer journeys in order to adapt successfully in these difficult times.

Larger businesses were also obliged to rethink their business strategy, improve procedures, and change operations by incorporating more digitization and automation into their daily operations.

Digital Innovations in the Retail Industry

With businesses grinding to a halt, the concept of omnichannel commerce, often known as a hybrid business approach, has grown in popularity among offline retailers. This hybrid structure is beginning to emerge as the future face of retail, given the complementing qualities of the physical and offline channels. The way Kirana store owners have adopted this concept is the most common narrative.

Local retail is quickly preparing for the digital marathon, from scanning QR codes to local establishments taking orders through WhatsApp, as well as e-payment possibilities using mobile wallets and applications, as well as cards. The local Kirana is going to play a crucial part in establishing them as the new standard.

Furthermore, because digitization facilitates accessibility, today's consumers are more aware of the various ways in which technology can assist them. Today's consumer expects more individualized and customized experiences from brands, which are tailored to delight them at every touchpoint.  As a result, brands must devise strategies that focus on both consumer acquisition and long-term retention.

Retail marketing has seen a drastic shift, with traditional activations and other channels no longer relevant to reach audiences. Companies are using more technology-based tools to measure the efficacy of a campaign. 

The adoption of AI and Cloud Computing among retail businesses has resulted in more convenient storage options as well as the ability to analyze thousands of data points in order to better understand consumer insights.

The boom in online shopping has also created a new space for several industries and opportunities for entrepreneurs to flourish in the past year in this sector.

Emerging New Trends in Retail Jobs

The retail industry in India accounts for over 10 percent of the country's GDP and roughly 8 percent of employment. The rapid adoption of technology in retail has necessitated reskilling of the current workforce.

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology in the retail sector by influencing consumer disposition and lifestyle. To improve customer experience, retailers have to implement new initiatives in retail marketing. This requires employees of retail companies to be reskilled in the new methods of engaging the customer. 

Retailers are also using technology-based tools to collate data about marketing campaigns - both offline and online - which are further used to enhance their approach. Sales personnel on the field are trained to be more agile, offering more customized experiences to the customers. 

Self-service has risen in popularity as a result of social distance. Consumers are increasingly interested in BOPIS (purchase online, pick up in-store) and BOSS (buy online, ship to store). The use of Retail Beacons has also grown in popularity in the past year. Retail beacons enable retailers to collect vital data and information for their customers. Customers can also benefit from Beacon's assistance and helpful information depending on their product interests.

Shift to direct-to-consumer (D2C), as firms recognize the need of being connected to customers in the face of strong competition during the pandemic. The emphasis will be on raising customer awareness and attracting their attention to product development and e-commerce strategy development.

This is reflected in the kind of jobs currently available in the retail sector. People skilled in technologies, particularly in AI/ML, are in demand. Employees are being trained to adequately understand other roles and work seamlessly with people, both offline and online. 

Conclusion

Customers are now looking for alternative shopping mediums as well as a variety of things that they may buy online, thus the future of shopping will be technology-driven. As a result, businesses are looking for tech-savvy employees to keep up with the ever-changing environment.

With the retail industry on the edge of digital transformation, offline retailers should embrace the new normal and build an online business strategy. Retailers should take advantage of digital retail channels (e-commerce) to save money on real estate while reaching out to more customers in tier II and tier III cities. 
 

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