The pandemic has changed overall retail experience and the retailers have also changed their strategies by bringing up their own AI-driven setups and putting up CRM systems to build a friendly experience for their customers. The intelligent automation technology is benefiting retailers and clocking bigger sales numbers. Overall, the shopping experience has adopted, digitalization and made the customer powerful in every sense, through digital payments and getting service in one thumb. Various social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Instagram have made their own marketplace where customers can interact with the seller and can make an easy purchase.
On Episode 2 of the Convergence Series, we talked about how the retail sector is leveraging its growth by introducing intelligent automation in their sector. To get the insights, we had an expert from the sector Mr. Manoj Patel, Deputy CIO, House of Anita Dongre Ltd spoke to Satyen Makhija, Partner at KPMG.
Conversion in majorly 3 sectors- Customer, Technology and Industry
The distribution in the whole country due to COVID-19 has made a lot of changes in the overall retail sector. But the major conversion has been seen in three sectors majorly- Customer, Technology and Industry. Patel said that their company already has their website functioning. Talking about the customer base, his company did a lot of changes, majorly on the digital-front, there was a paperless payment. The company made some immediate changes in the website such as getting touch with customers, putting/taking an appointment and on appointment helping them make purchase by appointing a stylist on the phone, and also helping customer in every way possible. At the end of the day, Customer is the god.
Patel also added that after the pandemic customers’ demand has increased in terms of service. They just click it and then they want it. Once the company is able to fulfill the comfortable level and service level, then it becomes easy to sell the products.
Journey of Technology
Major companies and brands were not expecting that they need to adopt technology in this way. Automation came at a time, when everything was closed and it was the only option left to reach the customers at the same pace. Patel talked about the journey, and said that certain things were already in place, but COVID didn’t give much time to introduce other technologies. There were multiple players and multiple markets available in the market, but the only problem was to select the right technology, so that it also creates a sense of trust among the shoppers.
Change in the behaviour of customers
The purchasing behaviour of customers have overall changed by relying more on e-commerce platforms, digital channels and payment gateway as well. After the pandemic, some things will remain constant and retailers have to behave in that way to attract customers. Patel shared there are different types of segments of the customers, there are some customers who really want to go-out, they want to feel the ambience and then there are other sets of customers who feel okay and adopt digitization easily. And, the retailers have to treat both sets of customers equally. Last two years have made us realize that we can’t depend majorly on offline business, and the brand needs to focus on the offline business as well. A lot of innovations and technology are required to make a seamless shopping experience for its customers.
Barriers to digital transformation
Patel added to this, “It was difficult as due to the pandemic everything came together and the company was demanding the advanced technology on the customers’ demand.” He said that their company was taking the requirement, making a documentation, making a presentation and then gathering everyone to come to one platform on the requirement.