22nd May, 2019
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Technology advancements have led to colossal competition amongst the retailers. Be it in the adoption of varying business models or the rate of technology implementation, the retail industry has experienced incredible changes in the past few years.
Evidently, this is an outcome of today’s smart consumers demanding a unified shopping experience and possess an elite notion of the level of service quality which sometimes is difficult to meet even for the bests in the field. The omnipresence of retail set up across the brick and mortar, the digital landscape and beyond has become a mandate.
Merchants are no longer considered to be the overlying reason for making purchase decisions.
Also, in the age of social media, the ‘word of mouth’ strategy via various communities have become an important influencing factor in the buyer’s journey.
How has technology helped in reclassifying retail sector?
The fusion of technology and retail has delivered newer opportunities both for buyers and sellers Technology plays a critical role in the functioning of complex retail activities and is being increasingly leveraged to unveil unique dimensions of outstanding customer service.
Virtual shopping assistants, in-store robots, Artificial Intelligence-fuelled suggestion motors, bot-managed billing counters, visual marketing are some of the new entities that have put the retail landscape in flux.
Though the majority of these are not a ground reality today the fact that these are in the pipeline has impacted the retails’ planning and strategies surely.
The upsurge in the usage of digital wallets, a rise of consumer analytics derivations, etc. are just upping the ante further.
Explain the aspects of retail that are being redefined by technology.
Retail is a gamut of processes and procedures that have been fast-tracked and automated with the help of technology delivered by Sales enablement partners. Some of them are:
Salesforce automation addresses all the existing as well as possible business challenges while implementing a feet-on-street strategy. It can be a holistic solution for planning and managing the field force program, offering end-to-end visibility to all the stakeholders in the sales ecosystem.
It may address pertinent sales process issues such as the inaccurate process of capturing sales data, fraudulent reporting, limited stock visibility, absence of structured communication platform, limited first-hand market insights and more.
Training through mobile apps is an apt case of the technology-empowered platform for ‘feet-on-street’ (FOS). Applications that enable real-time reference material for a salesperson at a remote location are a key enabler in retail space. The applications can be a central repository for the salesforce and may provide a window to the performance review, assessment processes, etc for upskilling the FOS on go.
Advancements such as QR Codes, Virtual Reality, drones, digital wallets, etc. are being leveraged to enhance customer experiences. Riding high on the emerging technologies these logistical advancements are only going to expand and permeate the retail sector deep.
Data analytics has been on the boom with Predictive analytics playing a key role in the retail sector. Not only it provides insight into the customer’s journey and their buying patterns but also provides enough information to the brands for finalizing their business strategies. It helps them to make the right decisions and creating impactful touch points at every step of the customer journey.
It is pertinent for brands to embrace technology to create an effective and empowered customer-centric experience and thus stay ahead of the curve.