The retail sector is in a state of shock. Low footfalls, low conversions, and low sales have led to massive losses. A Coresight report predicts that a record 15,000 stores could shut down in 2020!
How do you beat this? Through the use of digital technology in retail stores aka Retail Tech. What is retail tech? It’s the name given to any digital solution that can be used in the retail sector to propel growth.
Empty Malls – A Likely Future of Retail | Image Source
What Does the Digital Technology in Retail Stores Offer
How does technology help retail?
These are the advantages of digitization in business:
- The ability to do sales with social distancing – even through closed stores.
- Maximizing the use of digital technologies in retail to drive up sales.
- Preventing a complete shutdown of stores and malls through state-of-the-art digital technology in retail stores.
- Expansion of marketplace boundaries and the ability to cater to customers outside your district, city, state, or country.
What We Need to Let Go of
- Loyalty for age-old practices that don’t work
- Resistance to change
- Ignoring the power of data & insights
- Fear of technology
- Low investment in innovation
New Ways to Get Work Done
Adopting digital technology in retail stores post-COVID-19 does not mean online sales only or contactless retail. It means digitizing all the aspects of a shopper’s journey.
1. Shift to Virtual Stores & Malls
A shift to employee-only stores offering the click and collect or delivery options is needed. This will be true, especially for big-box stores. With a drastic increase in stay-at-home shopping, digital infrastructure to facilitate e-commerce will need to be a priority investment. Live-stream, drive-in shopping are also great options to adapt.
2. Be Data Strong
The shift is not just about selling through digital solutions, but also to leverage the data that is gained through this process. This data offers insights that can be actionable and help improve sales.
For example, the data can give you insights on the busiest days of the month, or what products are hot-selling or what age/gender your customers are from to tailor your products. Data can unlock many other perspectives.
3. Think Radically
How many times have we looked at a problem with a short-term perspective just to ‘solve’ it quickly? We need to change this ‘point solution’ view and think beyond the moment. Thinking radically allows us to get to the root of the problem and assess it fundamentally.
We need to bring the store to the people rather than bringing the people to the store. This can be done through the use of digital technology in retail stores. While this pandemic might be the first of a kind, it may not be the last.
4. Customer-Centric Operations
So far, the majority of the retail sector has been product-centric. The focus should be on what the customer needs and wants, so as to improve their overall experience. Data insights can be a great help in understanding your customer.
What leads your customer to you? What makes them purchase or check-out? What brings them back? Answer these questions and make a strategy around those answers.
5. The Bridge of Integration
73% of customers prefer omnichannel shopping. This is why you not only need to optimize online shopping but also offline sales. This can be done well by connecting all your processes through integration.
Use a retail management system that integrates all your applications for inventory management, accounting, supply chain, e-commerce, CRM, etc. A solutions provider like Suyati Technologies can help with the integration.
6. Hire Professionals, We Don’t Know it All
A pro in digital solutions can offer services to analyze data, understand buyer rhythms, integrate platforms, among other things. An expert like Suyati Technologies can help kickstart the process, including providing a detailed answer to the question, what’s new in retail technology? Consider this is an investment that you will reap in a very short time.
7. Digital Marketing
Social media helps 74% of the consumers in making purchase decisions. The use of Google Adwords is also a great strategy to make your website appear on the first page of Google search. Forbes says that the pandemic has caused a surge in internet usage by 50-70%. Launch a digital marketing campaign to get more leads.
8. Focus on E-Commerce Supply Chain & Inventory
Next-generation artificial intelligence or machine learning-based supply and demand planning for e-commerce will be a great tool for retailers. This will help you to predict a demand spike in the future and be ready with the supply. You may ask what technology is used in retail stores? You can digitize your e-commerce supply chain through technologies like IoT, Big Data, etc. A focus on real-time inventory visibility across the supply chain will aid in planning and delivery.
Shop From Home | Image Source
It’s a New World
Digital technology in retail stores is not the future. It’s already here. The pandemic is just giving it a push.
Before COVID-19, Gartner had predicted that digital spending in retail would increase to $218.5 billion by 2022. Now, the spending will go beyond this prediction. Walk your store down the digital road today and harness the power of technology in retail stores. Make the most of digital transformation benefits.