Industry Trends, Innovations, Technology And Disruptions In Retail Sector

Manoj Gyanchandani, Founder & Managing Director, Leayan Global Pvt Ltd (Red Chief)With strong determination, diligent efforts, belief, views and idea, Manoj is crafting long term strategies for businesses to excel in the market

The Retail Industry has changed manifold in the past few decades. With the emergence of Technology and the shift towards a more sophisticated e-Commerce platform, the focus on diversifying and adapting to a more technology-savvy world has never been higher.

Due to the changing paradigm of consumerism and the shift towards technologically enabled plat-forms, various Retail trends have been altered. There has been a shift in consumer expectations. Since consumers are gaining more insights within the desired window of opportunities for better service and business expectations, the focus on providing desirable service at par with customer expectations are at an all-time high.

Furthermore, technology has been disrupting re-tail, real estate and even healthcare sectors. The flow of marketing and selling processes have changed to aid in better consumer convenience and value. Previously, consumers were more loyal towards brands that had quality goods, but since the past few years, there has been an emphasis on retail brands providing both quality products and impeccable after-sales service. Huge e-Commerce platforms such as Amazon have only been able to develop due to their quality service and convenient shopping processes. The `Amazon' effect has been deployed in many brands to aid in their satisfactory customer approach. Disruption and Retail Innovation go hand in hand. For example, previously if we wanted to buy something we had to go to different shops and purchase it. If the product turned out to be of meagre value, we had to return it within 3 days. However, ever since e-Commerce platforms started gaining an audience, so did physical retail stores. Today, we don't only purchase a product, but also the tangible value of the after-sales service. Technology in retail has had positive effect on the working of these brands and their management. It has enabled a wider reach to consumers, better integration and communication within the business public.
Technology has also allowed for the social media presence of companies and online shopping at variegated platforms.

It is important for retailers to differentiate their brand in today's competitive business environment. They must set themselves apart by providing personalized experiences that help in harbouring the demands of today's customers. Much of that comes from knowing exactly who the consumers are, what their specific needs and buying preferences are, and then delivering that product or service in the most convenient and effortless way possible. This comes from measuring customer behaviour and data, and then establishing a comprehensive strategy to connect, engage and retain them. Shoppers know more than salespersons today, and retailers help in delivering relevant, to the point information to their consumers. Additionally, mobile phones and laptops have aggravated the significance of e-Commerce platforms manifold. Technology is present everywhere, and any retailer willing to overlook systemised technology processes to suit their brand would risk falling into losses.

We need such an integrated system that would allow travelers to make the best of the roadways and railways and provide the shortest and fastest route to reach the destination

Apart from the disruption sustained in the sector, there have also been growing challenges that retailers need to face on a day to day basis.

1.Keeping up with changing customer expectations
Customer preferences have been changing. As a retailer, one should be able to keep up with the seasonal trends as well as diverse consumer shopping behaviour. Retailers don't need to totally change the products, they just need to add some different elements to products in accordance with what is trending. In short, innovation has become the crux of customer expectation.

2. Customer Loyalty
Good customer experience is a major factor in creating brand loyalty. The most important element in sales is not letting old customers go. Consumer loyalty takes a lot of effort and retaining them becomes even more difficult.

While promotions and special offers are still the mainstays of the retailers to retain their customers, the real key to an amazing customer experience is personalization and innovation. To keep consumers in the loop, retailers are largely switching to more personalization such as personalised Emails/SMS for shop sales and brands.

3. Internal Communication
Managing Retail centres with huge management is a big task. Retailers should not only focus on bridging-the gaps between their various public, but also streamline processes at the internal level. When internal relations grow stronger and the grass-root level idea of the brand becomes more evident to employees, retail brands automatically become pro-service whilst employee motivation remains at an all time high.

4. Technology solutions for the Retail Industry
There have been a number of technologies designed to help elevate the retail business. Emphasis is to modernize in - store experience, revamp customer interaction, increased customer engagement and streamlining supply chain to deliver brand promise and operate more effectively.