How will disruptive technologies shape future retail?Rutva Mankodi
The coming decade is predicted to be consumer centric-era, where buyers will have a wide range of selection from large stock with various choices. Consumers would have a great exposure towards increasing number of products and services that are personalized as per their preferences. They are quite likely to expect the transparency and quality against the price they are paying for, along with a wide range of buying options. Overall, the retail experience seems to become more convenient and exciting to fulfill consumer’s demand.
As the consumers evolve their demands has demolished the boundaries of “retailer” and “manufacturer”. The technological transformation will change the entire landscape of relationship between retailer and consumer in the next 10 years compared to past 40 years. What retailers can do to cope up with the ever-changing consumer’s expectations.
Understand customer’s need and choices thoroughly
With the increasing exposure of retail IT solutions and technology, it has become easy for consumers to access a wide range of products on multiple platforms and channels. The factors that affect their decision are yet same. However, more emphasis is given on choice and control of the overall buying experience. Retailers are defining these access points via traditional methods and also experimenting with dynamic business strategies like omnichannel with a primary focus on enhancing the customer engagement. The ultimate power with consumers has left no choices for businesses to stay updated and be active in constantly innovating themselves to go with the flow.
Quickly adapt ever-changing technologies
Industry leaders will be able to achieve expected results only if they have a persistent focus on using technology to increase the value-added benefits to consumers. They must analyze what benefits they are giving against the cost. The major disruptive technologies which play a critical role in the transformation of retail industry: IoT, autonomous vehicles, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, and blockchain. Specific to IoT, drones, robotics, AVs and Artificial intelligence are predicted to be most transformational for retail as it works as a catalyst in driving efficiencies, reduce labor cost and seamlessly integrating multiple applications.
Conversion of physical space into digital
In the coming decade, the gap between online and offline will continue to reduce. The evolution in retail through omnichannel approach will continue to thrive at a large scale with greater or substantial momentum. With the changes in consumer spending pattern, the retail industry is likely to see greater value migration (from one channel to multiple channels) than value addition. Despite, there is an impeccable growth in e-commerce, the physical store will keep continuing to generate the revenue for the majority of large multichannel retailers till 2025. It will experience a noticeable progress in distribution channel based upon certain leveraging technologies to a 360-degree customer engagement platform which will, in turn, create new front-line for consumers and new opportunities for collaborations via social interaction.
Be ready for future technological advancement
Today’s market is quickly adapting to cater personalization services with ample amount focus on customized solutions for the customers. This has not only evolved the way to closely know the customer’s choices but also predict the future need for any individual need, want and demand. For this, companies will need to attain much more proficiency in order to match the increasing consumer's confidence. To keep the pace with this transformation, retail players will only lead if they start providing a complete package of consumer solutions and protect their business from being outdated.
For any successful strategy, retailers should see that their consumers will centrally be responsible in shaping the future of their business. As their expectations around cost, choice, convenience, control, and experience continue to rise, the industry will have to face challenges and continuously keep up with the pace. Here, disruptive technologies will act as necessary add-ons to the retail industry as well as its consumers, adding the value on top of every single deal.
Above facts indicate great opportunities, however, it will also be accompanied by challenges should be taken care primarily to make the industry’s transformation successful.
1. Implementation costs becoming non-affordable
2. Major culture change will take time to get accustomed
3. Limited provisions to address social implications
The new technology-driven transformation will bring enormous benefits with major industrial changes. Industry is quite likely to face the reduction in physical stores and their workforce. It is hard to say that the society will be only positively affected by the transformation. The decrease in employment can be the biggest area of concern. Though focus would be only on bringing the positive change. Also, the market will need intelligent leaders or manpower to set up the whole delivery system and drive the nation towards adopting a change.