During the pandemic years, the retail industry was highly inclined towards necessities and basics as the coronavirus ensured that such utilities will never be out of fashion. Even the online delivery platforms focussed on food items, groceries, food, and vegetables compared to luxury and discretionary items. However, as the vaccination paced up and the festive season headed closer, consumers shifted their pockets towards revenge expenditure in traveling, clothing, outing, and more. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, the retail and e-commerce sector has witnessed tectonic shifts in terms of commerce and business. Technology continues to disrupt and transform the retail landscape.
Raghunandan Saraf, Founder, and CEO, Saraf Furniture said that retail is witnessing a strong shift and customers are demanding an end-to-end experience at doorsteps. “It is not limited to e-commerce of the products. It is more inclined towards the change in needs and demands.”
As customer behavior changes, retailers should hawk-eye the dynamic trends to ensure the success of the businesses for years to come. Here are trends that retailers should keep at focus.
Creating omnichannel routes
It is the latest trend in the retail sector to create omnichannel strategies for success. Nykaa is exemplary of its success as customers are opting for the players with Omni-channels. Customers are looking on their devices for the routes, products, reviews, descriptions, utilities, and results. The ubiquity of devices means that consumers demand a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints.
Customers need a personalized shopping experience. This involves retailers giving genuine suggestions for customers based on their tastes, locations, history, and needs. This also includes simplification and ease of retailing with chat-bots, text messages, and emails providing delivery updates and other related services. “Personalised products and services are the hottest fads in retail,” said Anuj Mundhra, Chairman & MD, JaipurKurti.com. “Customers are thriving for experiences, which are unmatched. They are looking for personal touch through virtual means and retailers are finding routes for it.”
Serving the Immediate Needs
The retail industry is tackling a new breed of customers, the impatient ones. The fast-food cultured generation Z demands everything immediately and they are willing to pay for it too. This is why companies are looking for technology-led solutions like chat-bots over telephonic customer care. Retailers need to not only expand the horizons of their products and allied services but also expedite them to serve the growing culture of immediacy. Some retailers are so quick that they show the inventory status online, setting up delivery lockers and on-time delivery at the doorsteps. However, all this needs an efficient supply chain and inventory.
New Markets and New Channels
The retail industry needs to swiftly navigate within the possible new markets, with large long-term potential, and create new channels. Technology has made it easier but businesses still struggle hard to cope with it. Thanks to the rising acceptance of e-commerce channels, retailing is not confined to a single location. But this needs an effective digital strategy. The footsteps of the digital-first ecosystem are likely to last longer and retailers need to adopt new channels along with the traditional means in order to increase their customer needs. Integration of multiple systems will open new doors for the retailers, where they can untap the opportunities and feed the growing appetite.
Siddharth Maurya, Resource Specialist- Fund Management said that there is immense potential and technology is the key but not the only solution. “Look at Alibaba for instance, which moved out of China and made its mark across the globe. Indian retailers should pitch-hit at the national levels, followed by solidarity at the international space.”
Embracing Digital Payments
Using mobile as a payment method is one of the biggest emerging trends for retail players. Almost every customer is a smartphone user, which is now an indispensable companion in daily life. Certain retailers have kicked off UPI-enabled payments but mass acceptance of digital payment is not widely implemented. Rise of Digital payment highlights that consumers are demanding flexible payment modes. UPI enabled payments, clubbed with mobile apps, debit and credit cards and digital wallets are likely to see a big push. Such systems help the retailers to uplift the services a notch higher.
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