Technology has always played a vital role in shaping the retail industry, creating a massive impact on its stakeholders as well. A dynamic and adaptive technology assists retailers in enhancing the experience for their customers. Moreover, the future is digital which makes technology a necessity for this industry to incorporate in practice.
The Indian retail industry is believed to be one of the fastest-growing industries across the globe. The consumption segment in India is also expected to grow multifold in the next few years in sync with the increasing population and demand of the consumers.
The pace of transition from physical to digital which was expected to be seen a few years from now got preponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has forced people to take an online route for making their everyday purchases. This includes products ranging from groceries to cosmetics, everything has taken a digital route. Moreover, the users have become more tech-savvy than ever in the last 18 months.
It won’t be surprising to see this trend growing exponentially from here onwards as well. A lot of slow-adopting brands with no or minimal digital brands also had to shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. This clearly indicates that the retail players need to shift towards technology even for their survival in the industry.
In this highly competitive industry, technological advancements and user experience will play crucial roles in enabling the brands to stay relevant over their peers.
Technology has also played a key role in smartening the entire retail ecosystem. The advent of home delivery, brand optimization options, smart shelves, smart displays, in-store services, supply chain optimization, and logistics automation has been possible due to the digitisation of the industry only. This has also helped us witnessing a paradigm shift from unorganised retail to the organised retail sector.
Here are some of the technological trends currently prevalent which are expected to revolutionise the retail industry:
IoT (Internet of Things)
IoT has become a vital aspect of the in-store marketing efforts of retail brands. The inter-connection of all the daily-use items has enabled us to exchange data and optimize according to our preferences. Internet of Things offers opportunities for retailers in three critical areas: customer experience, supply chain and new channels-revenue streams.
Omnichannel retail system
The retail industry has extended itself from multi-channel to omnichannel in such a short time span. Omnichannel (or cross-channel) system enable retail marketers to deliver content to their customers as per their demand which maximises the user experience. This further enhances the conversion rate while building a better retailer-consumer relationship.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
In this digital world, the way technologies are getting involved within companies is of great interest. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the latest tools to satisfy customers and increase productivity.
Apart from the aforementioned technological trends, Big Data, SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud) and Artificial Intelligence will also play their part in the revival of the industry. Hence, it can be inferred that tech-driven retail is going to be the future.
(Rehan Huck is Vice President-Retail, ILC Group)