Evolution of digital retail has compelled traditional retailers to re-invent the concept of retail and adapt to the changing consumer behaviour.
Digital retail has redefined the very concept of retail by leading to a paradigm shift and influencing consumer behaviour. It has encouraged retailers to assert their online presence. Amidst growing challenges, brick-and-mortar continues to move hand in hand with eCommerce and mobile commerce leading to an emerging trend of Omni-channel retailing wherein, the brand has both online as well as offline presence.
Why Brick needs Click
Interestingly, eCommerce has transformed the retail scenario of the country in such a way that the traditional retailers are moving towards online to stay in the game. Off late, most of the brick-and-mortar brands have expanded their reach by moving to eCommerce and mCommerce platforms.
Digital retail has influenced the consumer behaviour and shopping patterns in a way that today's shopper looks for options to shop at ease and convenience. Having said that it does not mean that brick-and-mortar has lost its sheen, as no matter how fast and easy online shopping is, it will always lack the concept of touch and feel.
Speaking at the Indian Retail Congress 2015, Reshma Nagpal, Founder & CEO, E Bee Global Solutions said, “Our journey started from physical retail space where we empowered retailers and with the shift of technology moving into the hands of consumers; we tried to ensure that retailers had a long roadmap for omni-channel retail and so we created our own omni-channel commerce platform.”
Reshma further added, “All the different facets of omni-channel allows the retailer to plug and play with what they have; they don't have to replace anything rather they are just adding value to what they have.” Besides, it gives an opportunity to the retailers and helps in making a strategy to reach out to consumers, she said.
Modern retailers are using omni-channel retailing, not only to tap more consumers, but also as marketing tool to promote their brand. Online medium has given the retailers an opportunity to reach out to their target consumer segments and convert their prospective consumer to a final customer.
“Omni-channel has been a challenge for traditional retailers, but actually it can be translated into the biggest opportunity to reach out to consumers,” elaborated Nagpal.
On the contrary for certain retail segments like precious jewellery, furniture and more where standardisation is required, eCommerce cannot satisfy the consumers completely, as every product is different and so is the pricing; and for such segments, brick-and-mortar is the best option.
The road ahead
According to a research report, the future shows tremendous potential for growth in the retail sector.
Sharing views on the future of retail at IRC 2015, Satish Meena, Forecast Analyst of Forrester Research said that online retail sector in India is growing dynamically; in 2014 it was $3.9billion and by 2019 it is expected to touch $31billion.
“Besides, the impact of Web is far more than one can imagine, almost around $70 billion of retail sales will be impacted by online sales, which turns out to be the biggest opportunity for retailers to focus on e-retail,” added Meena.
Digital retail will re-shape the entire retail scenario and will empower the consumer to shop through various channels. Despite the new emerging models of retail, physical retail will always remain the foundation of retail and will have to adapt certain changes in operation and functionality and will continue to move hand in hand with the technology.
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