The Retail Industry is now concentrating further on trends such as Experiential Retail. Read on...
The Retail Industry has morphed into a new and modernized version of its former self in the recent past. Digitization, the introduction of different schemes and up-gradation of technology has seen the evolution of this space from unorganized trade to organized retail. This has been made further possible by Demonetisation and the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), as these have helped organized retail gain a fair share of the market from unorganized trade. Improved business models, changing demographics and increasing per capita income have played a crucial role in propelling the Retail Industry forward.
With innovative new concepts being introduced, there are several things to look forward to in the coming year. The Retail Industry is now concentrating further on trends such as Experiential Retail, which draws the focus towards a customer-centric approach, where the consumer is able to interact with the product or brand, rather than being a passive participant. The millennia’s tendency to base their choices on experience rather than goods is what is driving the market towards developing such trends. An interactive experience with the product or brand is better remembered, thus bringing about better brand recall rather than being told about a specific product.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Another trend worth mentioning is the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Experts have noted that by 2020, the Retail Industry is slated to be the top spending industry on AR and VR. At present, these are being leveraged as a means to improve customer experience. This technological upgradation has seen VR being used in everyday retail functions, such as shelf assortment, store design and layout.
AR, however, is yet to take the Retail Industry by storm. In spite of it being applied in limited areas of function, there are magnificent possibilities which AR can provide this industry with. For instance, in order to generate great revenues, brands must understand their customers. AR can assist with retail data analytics, which doesn’t only provide you with a series of numbers to decode, but also help you understand and sort through the data to identify emerging shopping trends. Moreover, technological advancements have allowed buyers to review and compare products from anywhere in the world. These informed decisions are further bolstered by the availability of 24x7 information regarding the product.
The introduction of Big Data to monitor and analyze buying patterns, trends, etc., has also been revolutionary in the Retail Industry and promises to have a significant effect on its future. Big Data provides a number of services like predicting the popularity of a product or identifying the customers who are likely to be interested in these products. Usage of this helps retailers understand their customer expectations.
Moving away from the tenants of the traditional retail market, multi-channel retailing has gained increasing popularity. The aim is for the retailer to be available to the consumer on all devices. The most common device used by shoppers nowadays is their mobile phones. With online shopping available at the click of a button and features like product details, size guide and free shipping, it is imperative for retailers to move their businesses online. This digital shift is making retail a consumer-friendly forum, while simultaneously allowing the retailer to advertise their product to the right target audiences.
Lastly, the Retail Industry is slowing working towards creating a human interaction-free experience for the consumer. Moving rapidly towards automation on all fronts, many retailers have already adopted the cashier-less model – be it small merchants or large ones. So, one may ask, what is the advantage of jumping on the technological bandwagon early for retailers? The answer’s obvious – they get to approach consumers with an entirely different approach, and if the market has told us anything so far, it is this – innovative methods lead to better sales.
All in all, we can say, that with the rapid movement towards a technology-driven landscape, the Retail Industry can look forward to several trends seeing innovations in 2019. As for the existing methodologies in place, those who are still holding on to the age-old concepts of traditional retail, need to understand and move quickly if they want to stay in the market.
This article is written by Ravinder Singh, Co-Founder and COO, 1-India Family Mart.