The Coronavirus has affected the whole world and has ended up stopping the growth of many sectors including the distribution sector and has deeply affected offline retailers.
The pandemic has forced the industry to change its business model and focus on online capabilities. The pandemic has also changed the volume of consumption in the retail sector and now consumers prefer home deliveries to visiting stores. Retailers have experimented with a myriad of ways to provide the best services to consumers. But they need to understand how they need to use technology and find new, innovative ways to build the new business model and drive the business digitally.
In this era of Covid e-commerce is the new normal, with government restrictions and lockdown there is a drop in mall visits. Many great leaders have disappeared from the market while few have digitally transformed their businesses. Digital transformation will improve services and increase consumer satisfaction, enabling them to meet the challenges of Covid-19 and grow the business exponentially in these unprecedented times. The retail sector has started accelerating the technological revolution and has started to establish its presence in the virtual world, moving forward and launching digital websites, apps and portals.
Technology is changing at a very rapid pace and so are all industries, including the retail sector. People are changing their habits from Facebook to Instagram, from blogs to vlogs (video content), from Google to Pinterest, etc., etc. The digital transformation of the retail sector will bring a revolutionary change in the field of business. As this will help to grow the business and run a successful business, one must adapt to the changes necessary for the growth of the business.
The retail industry has taken advantage of technology and here are the different digital transformation tools in retail:
Machine learning – Machine learning can improve the retail experience for consumers and create a connection between retailers and customers. This helps the retailer better understand and predict what the customer wants. It enables retailers to identify shopping habits and understand shopping behaviors and adjust promotions and special offers accordingly to boost sales and customer confidence. Personalizing product recommendations, adjusting prices on the fly, and creating forecasts based on historical trends and customer preferences will help boost the industry.
Artificial intelligence – Customers can now shop any day, any time as per their convenience and expect the same from the organization’s customer service. Here chatbots come to the rescue, chatbots act as digital store associates and are a fast and cost effective response service tool that can help seal conversions and create new sales. Artificial intelligence (AI) is an important way to provide the attentive 24/7 service that shoppers have come to expect.
Unified Commerce – Unified commerce is the term used to define a retail software system that can join all of your company’s inventory and customer data from all sales channels. Unified commerce makes the shopping experience easy and convenient for shoppers and helps drive sales by giving customers multiple channels to use to make a purchase.
Increase purchase decisions – Customers are the hardest hit due to lockdown restrictions, social distancing and long queues at the counter. Customers are looking for different ways to shop and expect their favorite brands to offer services through online visibility, where they can shop from the comfort of their own home.
Increase digital presence – Currently, many businesses have started investing in digital presence through social media, websites, apps, and YouTube. It shows how your business appears online through search engines, content, and website. In this way, potential customers interact with the brand via chatbots and can get help regarding the brand.
READ MORE: How retailers can leverage social media
Earn more sales – Digital signs act as beacons that help tell customers what to do and where to go. People feel more confident in their buying decision, which leads to increased sales. Digital signage in retail can be used to direct customers to specific products and upsell items.
Demand forecast – Digital screens are a great way to catalog items, understand consumer buying trends, and react to peaks and troughs of specific products. You can perform inventory checks and create a countdown on exclusive products you have left, which is a great way to increase demand right now. Digitization of the retail sector is also helpful in managing inventory efficiently.
Trend forecast – With data analytics tools, retailers can get a better understanding of the latest trends in their business. Data analysis algorithms can be used to predict future trends based on shopping habits. Predicted trends tell retailers what should be promoted to increase revenue and what should not be promoted.
Customer Concerns About Privacy and Data Sharing – Data breach can trigger the growth of digital retail. With an increase in mobile technology and with various data breaches occurring, customers are rushing to secure data and privacy. Retailers should give customers the ability to specify who and what can access their personal data, when and for how long using a digital identity management platform.
Technology – To succeed, it is necessary to have a solid foundation if the retail sector wants to fully digitize. Also, choosing the right technology can be a bit tricky. Also, it may require a significant amount of risk and time to understand the new technology and infrastructure required for the organization.
Complexity – Digital business transformation can be a bit complex for the retailer to manage on their own, such as supply chain management challenges and delivering a personalized shopper experience. This requires outsourcing to ease the burden and partnering with customers, stakeholders, and business entities to co-establish digital journeys.
Despite the above challenges, retailers will embark on their digital journey after understanding the various technologies that can help digitize retail and drive growth. Online shopping has become a reality, the transformation of the retail industry has completely rewired the shopping mechanism, and online shopping is seen as more rewarding than visiting physical stores. Partnering with technical understanding and industry know-how can help transform your business from the ground up.