With all the innovations in the digital world, be it the Internet of Things, AI, AR, or ML, we can surely say that the present era is the era of the digital world. Time is money and to save that time digital transformation in retail is helping businesses to speed up many processes that might have taken months not that long ago.
- How Digital Transformation shapes the Retail
In this modern era of digitalization, every business and service provider needs to adopt new technologies to stay in the competition.
In this time of the global pandemic, the retail business is affected all over the globe due to lockdown. Most businesses have adopted modern technologies to stay in business and competition. For example, the companies that had E-Commerce stores have not only survived this dip in business but also increased their revenue.
The reason is very clear: consumers seek everything that makes their lives faster and convenient. They organize most of their social lives through smartphones and digital media: Google Home or Alexa, intellectual shelves, AR mirrors, mobile payments, and a list goes on.
Conversational commerce is becoming increasingly important as customers and shoppers can use voice assistants to contact the store before making a purchase and ask questions about hours of operation, services, or products.
- Smartphones are becoming an important shopping tool
Today’s digital consumer expects a personalized approach, quick response from the store, and wants to be pampered with great service.
For many, in particular, the smartphone is becoming an important shopping tool. In 2020, almost 55% of people worldwide used their smartphones for shopping. The younger generation, in particular, goes shopping with their cell phones.
In 2019, only in the UK alone, 69% of shoppers have used their phone for product research while being in a store. In addition, shoppers use their mobile companions to occasionally receive purchase offers or research a product.
- Easy stock management
Another area of smart business is stock transparency and supply chain tracking. Radiofrequency technology helps to improve in-store inventory management. This information can be used and viewed by the customer as well as store employees and is a prerequisite for customer service at the click of a mouse or pre-booking online.
This information can be used and viewed by the customer as well as store employees.
After the store renovation, customers had troubles with navigation in the store. That’s why digital technologies can improve customer orientation and the quality of service in the store. Navigation systems are widely used by large retailers.
Robots drive through the store with a 360° camera to display the location of products. Customers can use the app to find the product they want. They can easily build a route in the store, shop faster, choose the cheapest possible product, or simply get information about individual products through QR codes, near-field communication (NFC), or image recognition.
A particular focus in using innovative solutions is certainly on the cash register and checkout counter. With the help of new technologies such as self-service, mobile checkout, automatic scanning, scanning, and dispatching, customer service can be greatly improved.
Another interactive option of smart stores is the smart changing room, the smart mirror, or the smart shoe mirror when trying on items in the store.
Here the customer has the option of requesting additional information or showing additional products or matching accessories.
It is also possible to order online from the changing room. A special emotional shopping experience is created when the entire outfit can be viewed and shared with friends or family via social media with videos and photos.
Stationary retail is currently undergoing a transition from traditional retailing to a multi-channel business model with integrated Store 4.0.
Retailers who successfully make the transition to Store 4.0 will remain and secure new market share in the future – unlike retailers who stick with their previous strategies without change.
- Artificial Intelligence is on its way to change the retail
Overall, AI for consumer services offers enormous potential for improving analysis and processes for retailers.
Store managers can use AI to query their branch’s inventory and sales data and tailor their assortment to the specific needs of their customers. What is the customer buying and when? Why does an item work in one store and not in another? How does specific product location impact buying behavior? AI allows regional managers to compare individual branches and adjust their range accordingly.
These are the most widespread AI solutions in 2020:
- Customer care (48%)
- Quality control (47%)
- Inventory management (47%)
- Personalization (36%)
- Pricing (29%)
- Fraud detection (24%)
Digitalization poses new challenges for brick-and-mortar retailing more than many other industries. The shift in sales toward e-commerce makes the abandonment of outdated structures and ways of thinking in conventional retailing correspondingly necessary for survival.
The retail industry has always been shaped by upheaval and change. What is new this time is primarily the speed with which these changes occur. This means that decision-makers have less time than before to make strategic decisions and to plan and implement measures.
(Louis Sawyer is a professional writer, editor and a web design expert. She loves writing about technology trends, web development, mobile games and business issues. Also, Louis works as a proofreader at Computools. Follow Louis on Twitter).