How Technology Is Changing The ‘Retail Game’

it is bringing virtual trial rooms, zero contact delivery, artificial intelligent stores, self-braking shopping carts, AR shopping Apps, contactless payments, etc to the retail environment

The retail industry is evolving, and digital transformation is giving the shopping experience a new shape with online experience and offline expectations. Technology has completely revolutionised the way customers shop and pandemic acted as a catalyst in making industry to re-look at their business models. Technology has shown its power and the retail industry is moving towards digital transformation bringing virtual trial rooms, zero contact delivery, artificial intelligent stores, self-braking shopping carts, AR shopping Apps, contactless payments, and many more. As per the report by, “there are more than 2.15 billion digital shoppers, so it’s important to consider where this figure is taking the retail industry and what technology trends pave the way in the retail sector in years to come”.

Year Of New Trends

The inclination towards adapting technology is going to stay with the customer, and there are various trends that technology has brought in customer’s life. Be it a giant retailer or a small D2C brand, all are making moves to stay relevant by launching ‘Online stores in Offline Spaces’. The high rise of Social Commerce, M-commerce AR/AI-powered shopping, voice ordering with smart speaker shopping all are delivering an essential experience to their customers. Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director, Strategic Marketplace Services expressed, “Instacart’s marketplace is becoming an enormous opportunity for brands that can get on the platform early. High conversion rates, average order values, repeat purchases, and lower CPCs are all positive signals for brands, in addition to reaching shopper households all across the US”, as Ecommerce is a new norm. Innovations in retail at front-end and back-end both are encouraging retailers to bring experience through ‘retailtainment’ and ‘same day/fast delivery’.

Resilient Foundation For Future

The traditional approaches across the supply chain have seen a huge transformation to ensure the availability of the right product to the right user at right time. By adopting modern technologies and applications, the retail industry has amped up its game to beat the scenario by improving the efficiency, productivity, and ROI of the company. The supply chain is digitised and has enhanced the upstream and downstream of businesses to match the needs of consumers. The retail industry has started investing in logistics platforms, digital adoption platforms, IIoT, ML, DAP, cloud, and control towers for greater visibility. McKinsey in one of its reports stated, “39% of Industry leaders are leveraging Industry 4.0 and have implemented the nerve center approach which is also called a

control-tower approach”. Supply chain innovation is must as product innovation, “data analytics can improve the efficiency of supply chains by ‘validating data; detecting anomalies; benchmarking operations; allowing for mobile reporting and visibility into global logistics' offering real-time route optimisation, improved demand forecasts, and inventory management” shared by Thomson Reuters notes. The right tools, the right technology, the right application will make the supply chain more resilient in face of all disruption.

Intelligent Technology

Pandemic has shown one thing, that customer is ready to adopt, thus seamless shopping experience and frictionless commerce are the solutions for the future. Younger consumers have more inclination towards innovation and experience with intelligent technology. Autonomous delivery, smart vending, the demand for AR/VR is rising retail industry. Simon Evans, Amido CTO stated, “Often, it is all too easy to focus on emerging technology and how it can provide innovation to a sector like retail. But the real battle in retail is often in nailing the basics at scale. Being good at omnichannel is hard and most retailers need to fix this before they invest in technology that is additive to that core. At every turn, the business value is dependent on the technologies that will convert potential chaos into a sense of control”.

*The author is Dr. Veenu Sharma, Assistant Professor, Retail and Marketing, Birla Institute of Management Technology, Greater Noida

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