Digital transformation and technological trends are impacting every industry, and the retail market is no exception.The growth of online shopping is changing things swiftly, which means, even though the consumers are becoming confident, they are still picky. Offline stores are moving towards e-commerce presence, yet e-commerce platforms want stores.
As new and refined technologies continue to emerge, it is changing the preferences of the Indian consumer and evolving their mindset. This means, they are now expecting seamless shopping experiences across all channels; brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce platforms and mobile apps. Brands will have to embrace the change and prepare for these upcoming trends that will transform their industry in 2020:
Focusing on in-store experiences
Gone are the days when retail simply focussed on selling products. The new-age consumers seek engaging experiences over material possessions. Retail brand stores will be combining traditional elements with tech-enabled aspects activities like in-store tabs to add layers and new experiences to their old-fashioned retail models. By developing a customer-centric approach in their businesses that can let the consumers interact with the brand and even give feedback for the same, retailers in the brick-and-mortar space can generate a better brand recall and escalated sales.
More stores will embrace immersive technologies
While online brands specifically in fashion, lifestyle and beauty segment are already tasting success by embracing the concept of experience–based shopping by offering styling services using AR/VR, offline brands too will join the movement by implementing these immersive technologies to offer a convenient retail experience to the consumers. This will allow the consumers to simply walk in at a physical store, find their preferred products or outfits on the virtual screens and try them on the same platform without touching them physically. This technology integration in offline stores would indeed facilitate a seamless shopping experience for the consumers.
Despite the continuous rise of online retail players, brick-and-mortar stores still play a key role in the sales process of the present retail model. From being the primary point of sales, it has now become a part of the larger retail strategy. This has primarily occurred due to the changing methods of consumers while making shopping decisions. This calls for the retailers to maintain active presence across multiple channels, including websites, marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar to captivate consumers and keep them engaged until the eventual point of sale.
Social commerce will be a gamechanger
Millennial consumers are becoming more demanding with time and this can pose challenges for the retailers to get their brand noticed amid the rising competition. Social commerce platforms can facilitate the retailers to raise their brand awareness and initiate direct engagement with their target customers through pictures and videos of products posted by the brand as well as the social media influencers. Retailers can also take advantage of the consumers sharing their experiences through reviews and recommendations.
Expansion of data collection and analytics
Big Data is everywhere and online retail has already been leveraging it to identify and assess buying patterns, trends, demands etc. This year, Big Data will finally pave its way into the offline retail space to create a significant impact on its future sales. Brick-and-mortar retailers will be able to expand their collection of data through both point of sale and website cookies in order to understand the customers’ expectations and optimize profits.
All the above trends have been driven by a combination of a progressive technological landscape and the shifting preferences of consumers. By embracing themand preparing for them, retailers can foresee 2020 as yet another positive opportunity to flourish.
The article has been penned down by Ravinder Singh, Founding Director, 1-India Family Mart