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How are Retailers using Technology Post the Pandemic?

It has been two years since the pandemic shook the world. Post the pandemic, what stands out is the resilience of the retail industry and the way they adopted technology in serving customers in the face of a relentless pandemic. The retail industry services people mostly face-to-face, but despite movement restrictions, retailers were able to quickly pivot their strategies to revive their revenues and maintain customer loyalty using technology. That is what has withstood the test of time, some trying times.

What was required for the growth of online retail was a higher number of internet users and more of them feeling comfortable about shopping online. In 2019, online retail contributed to 14.1% of the global retail market. China had the highest online retail penetration at 36.6%, compared to 10.7% for the US and 4.3% for India. Around 20% of people in India shopped online in 2019 compared to 69% in the US. By 2026, the number of online buyers in India was expected to reach 50% of the population by 2026. The pandemic has changed all the dynamics of the industry. Consumer behavior has shifted dramatically. About 86% Indians adopted online shopping in 2020 as per Shopify data and that behavior change is here to stay.

The pandemic has been a milestone event in proving how technology can solve all sorts of problems and challenges. A critical challenge that retailers faced during the pandemic was slow moving inventory, supply chain management, and contactless interactions and transactions. Using ShopConnect Boost’s data-oriented approach can help create a receptive, agile, adaptable business model in tune with changing dynamics and customer behavior. It can provide real-time inventory visibility and help forecast demand and ensure that stores are properly stocked. This can help in keeping inventory agile and based on the demand forecast, they can push high performing products. It can also help in managing staffing requirements based on the demand.

Retailers can leverage the data to automate processes, maximize revenue and customer satisfaction, and optimize their supply chain resiliency and costs. Using analytics can reduce processing times across nodes in the supply chain network, allowing for the product to reach the customer more quickly. They can also focus on flexible and contactless last-mile fulfillment options, such as curbside, drive-through, and in-store pickup. Some retailers use an online appointment booking system for live video call shopping assistance and then supplement it with deliveries or store pickups.

Post the pandemic, retailers are utilizing technology to realign their strategy with changing times, particularly regarding real estate, layout, service, and fulfillment. The way forward is to adopt upcoming technologies for improving agility and responsiveness so as to sell the right product at the right time in the right place.