The technological advancements in the retail industry have brought a new world of possibilities for medium to large-scale businesses
By Jatin Ahuja
For any business to be successful, technology plays an equally important role as the product, price, and packaging. Where a lack of automation in the retail sector during the pandemic slowed businesses across the world, there were some retailers who understood the market transitions and adapted flexible tools to improve their visibility. As a result, the latter survived.
Retail experience in the past year has completely transformed, owing to a global health crisis followed by social distancing norms, radically changing the way customers are buying their products. The technological advancements in the industry have brought a new world of possibilities for medium to large-scale businesses.
Innovation was never an issue for large-scale retailers; however, a significant part of India’s retail industry includes local brands and small businesses that have been working with the most basic form of technology until recently. The pandemic and the related struggles have changed all that for them. Today, even the smallest retailers are counting on technology for their day-to-day operations. What’s more, it’s not simply retailers who are benefiting from this. For buyers as well, innovation and digitalization have been a great help as their movements are now restricted.
Since the start of the pandemic, numerous retailers have aced their technological know-how in their business capacities to drive customer engagement and guarantee business progression.
Engaging customers online
Customers believe internet shopping has more advantages than in-store shopping amidst prolonged additional lockdowns in India’s fight against COVID-19. Whatever the reason may be, online shopping has seen a tremendous hike. With the assistance of AI and Machine Learning, retailers are not simply assisting buyers with visualizing themselves with the products in a virtual world, yet it is assisting the retailers with making technological discourse without compromising social distancing norms.
Virtual shopping experience
Another key speculation in the recent year has been in remote shopping assistants, which will be an enormous market in the following years. Many retailers have adapted video conferencing as one of their sales tools to connect with remote customers across the world. With the help of video – which the pandemic heightened the need for across various industries– retailers can communicate with the clients at the comfort of their home. This has helped customers directly contact experts and have a guided discussion and pose inquiries about products. This gives customers the certainty that they are purchasing the best on the internet.
Safe payment integration
As a part of offline-to-online transition, accepting payments through a vendor account or incorporating a secure payment gateway to deal with the buying cycle has become a new hygiene check for an authentic e-retailer. Payment options further give elective methods to make payments and provide customer support, and security against fraud.
Touchless buying experience
Touchless online business is the eventual fate of the retail sector, serving customers without making any human touchpoints all through the transaction. From stationery to mobile phones to luxury cars, any item can be looked at, assessed, chosen, and purchased online. Virtual technology and robotization are utilized for the process. With the help of robotics, no human interaction is required, especially during the drop-off or pick-ups at chosen areas.
Offline to online progress can be profoundly useful to organisations, as it will be attainable to work from any area, will require minimal expense of working, with no time limits, being effectively adaptable, with a strong connect with an extensive crowd, and able to track the performance flawlessly. However, how far a retailer can go towards adapting available innovation will rely upon its size, need for refinement, and ability to invest. Yet, any change will give them an opportunity to remodel their operations automatically, adding value to the business.
The author is founder and MD at Big Boy Toyz. Views expressed are personal