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‘COVID-19 accelerates the need for greater technology integration into retailing’

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During this lockdown and post-lockdown period, the future for businesses looks uncertain as COVID-19 has no solution yet to counter its infection. The only thing continuing is social distancing norms and general precautions against the pandemic that is making it difficult for the retailers to imagine businesses resuming normalcy; at least till a time that a vaccine is available. The existing retail model based around brick and mortar was already struggling and seems more outdated now than ever. Thus, it is critical for retailers and businesses to redefine business models and make them more sustainable as well as future-proofed through technology integration, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

'COVID-19 accelerates the need for greater technology integration into retailing'

The shift to digitalization has made it critical for the retailers to adopt technology-driven solutions at each stage of a customer’s retail journey. Retailers in China showed how to harness technology to generate new learnings about consumer behavior, eventually helping them win more customers even during adversity.

partnered with , which helped the retailer in keeping its customers informed of events. Louis Vuitton’s partnership with WeChat to host a Valentine’s Day exclusive pop-up store online helped the retailer double its like-for- like sales in 2020.

In May 2020, B2B e-commerce platform launched virtual showroom services for brands to showcase their ranges. Converse used this platform to showcase its offerings in China. The VR store concept is shaping up rapidly beyond China as well. In India, GMETRI, a VR start-up in Bengaluru is working with some of the retail giants such as , , and to launch VR stores across the country.

, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “We will witness a large number of retail failures in the coming years if retailers fail to accommodate new technologies in their businesses. The brick and mortar retail format was already struggling before COVID-19 as digital transformation changes the way we live and do our business. Post COVID-19, the definition of normalcy will change forever and there will be an unprecedented rush towards adoption of technology by the retailers. Technology will emerge as the game changer for the retail landscape in the immediate as well as long-term future.”