Retailing is set of activities to sell the merchandise and services to ultimate users. Over the years technology has bought drastic changes in traditional retail business. Growing dominance of online retail has prompted the offline retailers to do innovation in their format and shift focus on customer experience. The article shed light on corrective measures that offline retailers should adopt to compete with online players.
Technology in brick and mortar store
Technology integration is very important aspect of brick and mortar retail. Speaking on same, Vishal Malik, Business Head-Retail, Intex Technologies India Ltd, said,” Let’s take the example of fashion sore where most of the time the buying decision comes from trial room; despite being so crucial in entire buying cycle it remains neglected.”
He summed up by saying technology can be used in all the places. If retailers will invest in technology, it will certainly help in making in store experience wonderful.
Striking a similar view Jenny Andrews, Founder & Chief Creative Lead StudioJ said,” In consumer space technology is very important. I believe there should be a strong blend of technology and experience.” She stressed that despite the growing share of digital the touch and feel aspect of merchandise is equally important. And, technology plays a pivotal role in establishing the synergy between online and offline.
Speaking on same, Ayush Mehra, Director-Pret Study, Janak Garments Pvt. Ltd, said, “I think technology will play a major part as far as e-commerce business is concerned. In brick and mortar retail technology goes as hand and glove. Technology and brick and mortar store have to go hand in hand. “
Stressing the importance of in store experience Mehra informed, “Visual representation of fabric via technology is an add-on factor which we have already implemented in our store. This technology helps the customization of entire outfit which ultimately improves the in store experience.”
Integration of online and offline
Speaking on same Mallik said, “We are in the business where we consider e-commerce as an added channel. We started out retail business two years back that time online was on pique. People used to ask us why you are investing money in setting offline store. “Intex has more than 125 stores spread across 23 states in just two years time.” Every fifth day we are opening a store but the purpose of rolling out was to integrate online and offline. Now we are working on click and collection model,” Mallik informed.
Speaking further he stressed that the real differentiator can come by adding newer product ranges so the retailer can improve margins, also investment can be done in human resource training to equip them to deal with the customers better which in turn will create brand patronage.
“E-commence is the virtue that is helping us in offline retail. Customers may be digital friendly these days, and have all sorts of medium to buy, but the virtue of feel and touch they will eventually come to store asking for same product,” he said.
Echoing with Mallik, Andrews said, “Online and offline has to co-exist so the brands can leverage in terms of sale. Online is an natural extension of offline store, they complement each other. When we work with online players, we put equal focus on building brick and mortar store as well; we try to integrate e-commerce with brick and mortar store.
Clearly, technology is changing the way the traditional retail used to behave. With changing consumer behavior it has become mandatory for retailers to innovate and stay abreast with latest technology.