In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can clearly see that the market landscape is shifting. This paradigm shift is all the more evident in the retail industry where a growing number of retailers are looking to incorporate digital tools & strategies into their business models to adapt to the needs of today’s customers. It is imperative to understand that today’s customers expect instant, convenient and quality service from retailers. The new age retailer of today wants to sell better using a perfect combination of channels, Digital tools, communication, and processes thus directly impacting revenue. The need is for standardization and integrity of digital tools and components to help give a personalized experience to consumers.
Ushering a new- age
Even though the digital retail shift is not a new revolution, with Amazon being a prime example, the retail market as a whole was predominantly focused towards offline sales. In the past year, retailers have started to rampantly increase their digital presence. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns has reduced the number of storefront visitors. Since nearly 75% of customer interactions have moved online, retailers have understood the importance of having a strong digital profile and embarking on a digital journey with an omnichannel vision. This paradigm shift should be viewed as a new-age transformation for the retail sector. And in this new-age, retailers can only thrive if they focus on ROI of stores, increased serviceability for orders, increase conversion in sales through personalized product assortment rendering, and bring stickiness through rewarding CRM components.
The facets of a new-age retailer
Retailers who understand this paradigm shift and adapt to the changes will be able to thrive in this new era. To ensure that they outperform their competitors in the industry, retailers need to adopt digital tools and techniques as a part of their DNA. The following are the characteristics of a new-age retailer:
- Omni channel vision
- Leverage and use the latest digital tools and technology in the market to render excellent customer experiences.
- Look to drive cross-channel sales and marketing initiatives to expand their customer base and improve their revenues.
- Build/use tools to track & analyze customer experiences and predict customer behavior to understand and satisfy their needs. Data & intelligence is key.
- Always look for new ways to engage customers and in these times, bring a contactless customer experience at their stores.
- Create endless aisles and enable customers to browse and buy through an endless assortment of products irrespective of whether they are in stock, available or out-of-stock at stores.
- Implement a good logistics and fulfilment system
- Convert stores to virtual fulfilment hubs for proximity delivery
The Digital Embrace
As said above, retailers are now going omni-channel to provide real-time synchronous communication, Seamless and easy buying experience for consumers, ‘Insightful’ & personalized shopping, Flexi payments, Digital marketing, and Fast Delivery. Few other considerations while they embark on this journey as listed as below:
- Store Connect – This is needed to achieve faster and seamless order processing and billing at the store. Also, it is connected to the store inventory and will process real-time queries on inventory status. This will have online integrations, functions that meet eCommerce business needs.
- Intelligent PIMS – a centralized platform to manage all product data and information required to enable, automate, and enforce best practices in product data, content integration and flow across multiple channels and or applications. PIMS will serve as a medium to cleanse or standardize of existing data & content or add /create new content to drive: A) Standardize product information catalogue across all channel B) Manage critical information triggering customer decision making process regarding purchases
- Centralized Order Management System – A system that manages all aspects of an omnichannel business, such as order processing, call center management (for phone orders), customer service/CRM, forecasting and purchasing, inventory integration, warehouse integration, marketing, and accounting. Also, it tracks sales, orders, inventory, and fulfilment as well as enables the people, processes, and partnerships necessary for products to find their way to the customers who bought them.
- CRM & loyalty – The customers today are becoming educated and are adopting a digital lifestyle. They shop through all the channels including in-store purchase, mobile app, web-store, etc., at their convenience. A good Customer Relationship Management system can help retailers track and understand customer behavior. With the help of a CRM, retailers can offer better customer experiences and improve their services to match their ever-changing expectations.
- Hyperlocal Connect & Logistics and fulfilment
- Other Customer Service Tools- In an era where customers expect instant customer service, retailers should look to integrate the best customer service tools in the market.The simplest options include WhatsApp and Live Chat, which can improve customer service exponentially.
We can clearly see that retailers need to use best-in-class digital tools & technologies to ensure that they have a superior advantage over their competitors in the current era. It is very important to use a holistic strategy keeping customer experience as the core to offer unparalleled experience. The era of a new age retailer has begun. Only those who adapt will grow and thrive. Invenzo offers its next gen retail solutions to retailers to help them embrace a journey of holistic omnichannel retail transformation through a suite of tech components and solutions which plug and play to their existing businesses' systems.