The past two years have brought about a significant shift in the retail industry, with retailers embracing resiliency during the changing times and adapting to the industry’s evolving trends. Amidst all the changes, one thing that has remained constant is consumers’ desire for a seamless and personalized shopping experience.
As the online shopper’s landscape evolves, with one study projecting over 500 million online shoppers in India by 2030, nurturing a connection with them is of utmost importance to retailers. Moving forward, technology will continue to be an important enabler for a successful shopper-retailer relationship. Embracing technology to create meaningful experiences for the customers and reimagining the current business model will be a vital component for retailers to thrive in 2022 and beyond.
The Prominence of Voice Commerce in India’s Non-Metro Cities
Rapidly increasing mobile users’ penetration in India has resulted in the country becoming one of the biggest markets for voice technology, with voice search queries growing at 270 percent per year. Online shopping has also picked up exponentially, where 67 percent of all orders during the 2020 festive sales came from tier-II cities and beyond in India. The concept of voice commerce, though not entirely new, is proving to be the biggest unlocking trend for e-commerce in the coming year. Racing to capture the 400+ million tier-II and tier-III consumers widely known as the next billion users, top e-commerce brands have already added in-app voice assistants to their apps. As voice technology continues to alter the retail dynamics, particularly in tier-II cities, customers are looking out for friendly and conversational user experiences to ease their purchase journey. Against this backdrop, retailers should optimize their brands, products, and services for voice commerce to widen their digital reach while also reducing consumers’ pain points.
Traditional Gifting Becoming Obsolete
Gifting has always been a year-end trend in India and around the world. However, the last 2 years have brought about a considerable shift in how gifts are exchanged, giving unlimited choices to both senders and recipients. Moving on from physical vouchers and cards, consumers are increasingly seeking digital-first experiences vis-à-vis gifts. 2022 is set to be the year of continuous growth for digital gifting as Indian shoppers and businesses look for newer ways to give gifts while avoiding any roadblocks that may be associated with physical gifting.
A recent report by a leading branded payment solutions company reveals that 84 percent of surveyed Indian shoppers chose digital gift cards to avoid the hassle of returns or exchange. Consumers’ attitudes toward gifting are ever-changing making it the opportune time for retailers to unwrap them to their advantage.
Rise of Immersive Retail Experience
As online shopping becomes mainstream, consumers’ outlook towards shopping in-store has also transformed. Retailers have an opportunity to adapt to this shift and develop stronger omnichannel capabilities. With digital formats dominating the shoppers’ retail journey in the past 2 years, consumers are looking for more reasons than just shopping to visit the stores. To compel shoppers to visit stores (offline and online) in an omnichannel setup, choosing more strategic locations, redesigning stores, and creating immersive experiences will be of utmost importance to retailers. Further, inspiring shoppers through enhanced product experiences, personalized assistance, richer experiences through AR and VR technology, interactive displays, etc. will be critical factors in ensuring customer retention.
As the retail industry evolves and forays into the future, retailers will need to adapt to the rapidly changing consumer preferences while also building an integrated ecosystem to deliver a rich and immersive shopper experience.