In recent times, the Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries. Entry of new players in the market, latest initiatives by the government and increase of foreign direct investment in the sector are the driving factors for the exponential growth. Technology also plays an important role in shaping the current scenario of the retail industry in India. There is a lot in store that the retailers can look forward to, new technologies like mPOS systems and in-store tablets. Big retail houses can leverage many ideas from the internet. A study of the current challenges pertaining to technology in the sector and suggestive measures to improve the same can help us explore the future of retail shopping.
Today the retailers are challenged with addressing multiple disruptive technologies; the strong focus is on innovation. Creating technologies that will improve customer interaction and experience tops the priority list. Retailers must find new ways to be relevant to tech savvy consumers, in order to compete with the eCommerce rivals and to upgrade themselves with new models that will facilitate growth in the future. Rapidly changing technologies have reshaped consumer behavior and expectations. Providing an Omni-channel customer experience has become the need of the hour for retailers. Most of the retailers are inculcating use of new systems like IoT (Internet of Things), RFID, mobile payments etc. A list of the few major technologies and their uses pertinent to retail biggies can simplify the process and propose ways to meet the desires of consumers.
Technologies for Retail:
1) Advanced POS: Use of an advanced point of sale machine that can be bundled with CRM function, loyalty management and customer analytics. POS in today’s time means point of service.
2) Order Management Systems: OMS is a bridge between different order capture systems like the Store, PoS, Online, Marketplaces, Call center and even mobile app. The other key features of OMS are order tracking, managing returns and exchanges.
3) Enterprise Service Bus: ESB is a standalone system that enables other systems to communicate with each other in a scalable, consistent and secured manner. With plethora of systems mushrooming around the retail landscape, an investment in ESB applications must be explored.
4) Chat Bots: Bots could well be the next wave of how people choose to interact with machines and transact. Chat bots are at their core services that take inputs based on machine learning and send back a response. These services BOTS could reside in your shopping app, website and call center IVR. They work in similar method like IOS’ SIRI.
5) Augmented reality: When fantasy becomes reality, example: Pokemon Go. Augmented reality in retail was the much touted, but barely deployed magic mirror. Maybe trying garments virtually was not AR’s destiny.
Each of the above mentioned technologies is a sneak peak in the future of the retail sector. These technologies can facilitate development of the brick and mortar stores along with helping them create a path to disrupt the technology barrier between e-tail and retail. Customers today are spoilt with choices. Product differentiation today is difficult to achieve, retailers therefore have to differentiate on experience. With the implication of these and other similar technologies, we hope to explore a new world of retail shopping where everything is at the disperse of the consumers.
This article has been authored by Rahul Jashnani, MD, Jashn