Starting the year on a positive note, according to real estate investment firm CBRE, leasing across India's high streets and malls is expected to surpass pre-Covid levels this year, with the country seeing a 25 percent increase in new store openings in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Traversing the unprecedented times of 2020 and the succeeding strange occurrences were and continue to be a tremendous undertaking. From mass store closures and extreme tenancy limits to demand issues and global supply disruptions, merchants and customers worldwide have needed to conform. With the world's attention shifting to new growth engines, accelerated by already-growing trends and the digital revolution in retail, the beginning of 2022 has returned people to malls at pre-pandemic levels.
As a result, physical touch, feel, and socialization cannot be replaced by e-commerce or online options. Harping on this upward momentum of offline stores, what are the changes retailers are making to provide customers a value addition to their experience?
Today Experience is the King
Consumers today are more discerning and well-informed than ever before. They expect a broader range of experiences that combine retail, music, dining, and entertainment, which is why futurists predict a resurgence in shopping malls by the middle of the decade. Partnerships between various retailers, ranging from hairdressers and spas to clothing retailers and office supplies, will see ‘unlike’ providers collaborate as part of a blended retail experience.
This scenario is being shaped by a number of factors, including supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, the new financial realities of a shrinking middle class, and millennials pressed by lower net wealth. According to a recent study, 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than things. They spend their money on entertainment, live concerts, restaurants, theme parks, and travel rather than cars, clothes, watches, or accessories.
Providing an Immaculate Experience
To capitalize on the opportunity in the next era, retailers must explore a variety of options to propel their business forward. It all starts with retail insights gained through a unified view of the business, which unifies operations and maximizes customer experience. Analytical tools provide a consolidated view of relevant data to assist retailers in understanding all aspects of their business and identifying new opportunities.
To deliver the experience across all channels, a unified approach to commerce is required. This centralized customer view integrates online and offline for seamless experiences in-store, online, or on mobile devices. As retailers strive to become more sustainable through circular models and assume greater responsibility for their products, a fluid returns experience becomes a key differentiator.
Engaging Workforce as much as Engaging Customers
Retailers require an engaged workforce that not only serves customers but also understands their needs and knows how to create customer intimacy. In a never-ending war for talent, attracting and retaining employees necessitates improved user experiences for managers, employees, and candidates, all of which can be managed with SAP Success Factors solutions.
The employer experience can either break or build customer loyalty and trust making it a critical factor to engage employees along with customers.