Indian retail industry has seen tremendous transformation and growth in the last few years and has become one of the most favourable market for global investment. The vibrant industry, hugely shaped by changing policies and consumer behaviour is adopting technology not only to understand changing consumer preferences but also to enhance shopping experiences. Innovations have defined a gradual shift in how companies approach retail altogether.
Technology disruptions have taken all industries in its stride and the cash and carry business is no exception, despite it dealing with B2B customers. Technology has been a pivot for the creation of personalised, ‘instant’ buyer experiences. The players who leverage technology well will be industry leaders of the next decade.
As we have stepped in 2019, here are some retail trends that will make news this year.
Integrated Omnichannel presence for retail analytics – Omnichannel in retail has been a high talk point and some retailers have successfully expanded their presence across platforms. However, integration is the key to success in this game. Unless the platforms are integrated, they will present an inconsistent experience to the customers, creating confusion about the product, pricing and promotions.
Besides ensuring an unswerving experience, a bigger advantage of an integrated Omnichannel approach would be to share and cross-leverage customer behaviour data. For instance, if a customer has a specific purchasing pattern for a product offline, the retailer can use these insights for targeted marketing on various digital platforms. It will not only help the shopper find what they need but also help the retailer generate higher sales through relevant product suggestions and repeat business.
Shaping in-store experience through proximity marketing – Internet of Things has transformed many industries and has the potential to enable real-time interaction between retailers and consumers, providing them with a truly connected experience. It not only brings about a seamless experience but also enable guided discovery and shopping, using a network of beacons in store. These beacons can help retailers in marketing, mapping the consumer movement patterns and time spent at various sites, in-store messaging, building consumer loyalty etc. This will offer the opportunity to revolutionise in-store experience for consumers.
Increasing focus towards sustainability – The consumer dynamics have evolved considerably over the last few years. They feel connected to a company or a brand that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. The inclination of Indian consumers towards building a sustainable future will provide an edge to brands operating sustainably.
The dynamic regulatory environment and shifting consumer preferences are making it imperative for retailers to decrease the social and environmental impact of their operations. Companies will be seen instituting practices and initiatives to address this need, and, the players who will ace this, will be the most preferred brands for consumers in the future.
Decreasing wastage, promoting recycling and energy conservation will be certain immediate outcomes of bringing sustainable practices within business operations. Over a longer period, the impact of sustainability will run much deeper, with local community engagement and expected economic benefits.
Employing Blockchain to enhance credibility through responsible and ethical sourcing – Blockchain technology helps retailers with core functions including supply chain management, inventory management, authenticity verification, auto-renewal and subscription services, customer data and loyalty programmes. However, the key benefits that the technology is delivering to retailers are to ensure authenticity and improve accuracy in tracing the origin of any product swiftly.
Incorporating blockchain technology will enable retailers to track data right from sourcing stage to customer purchase while ensuring authenticity for their customers. It will also help establish sustainable sourcing practices being followed by the company, making a stronger connect with the millennial consumer.