Malls, Shopping Centers, etc.

The retail industry has transitioned from single product selling to multi-category products (food, beverages, grocery, household utilities, fashion, jewelry, footwear, etc.) available under the same roof giving the customer the choice of multiple brands for a particular category of the product with ensured quality. Today’s hectic scheduling of an individual lead to time crunch and an individual prefers to buying things from a single roof offering him multiple options.

Apart from this, the retailing chain centralized SCM (Supply chain management) ensure better rates for the consumers as they negotiate better discounts with the manufacturers on bulk procurement which in turn is passed to the consumer has a benefit.

The concept of the retail chain which started way back in 1852 when the first departmental store was opened in France transitioned slowly and steadily with
A&P opening the first grocery chain store in 1958 in the US.

  • The supermarket coming up in 1930 in the US
  • Walmart getting started in 1962 in the US
  • Amazon (Online shopping portal) opening in 1995

These are just the examples of few start-ups that introduced the concept of multi-category and multi-chain retails which is now transitioned to the online version due to the growth of internet and penetration of mobility globally.

Having just briefed about the concept if we analyze the retail infrastructure we could foresee a huge transition which has migrated the manual tasks in the retail being done thru automation and it would be difficult for retail chain players to survive in this competitive domain without the use of technology.

The retails industry is divided into two categories

  • Multi-brand retail chain offering multiple products under one roof and offers at multiple locations with a centralized administrative control
  • Online retail portals like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. which provide the customer the flexibility to buy online

With the online market growing and offering aggressive prices the multi-brand retailers and small retailers are under immense pressure to sustain in this competitive domain.

Let us analyze key trends that are going to impact the Multi brand and Online retail vertical in the coming years.

The key trends that will impact the multi-brand retail chain are mentioned below

  • Enhancing customer experience
  • Process automation and use of technology for minimizing operational costs
  • Social media branding for enhanced customer reach and referral selling
  • Use of push messages with promotional offered to convert footprints into sales
  • Contactless payments
  • Enhanced Web portals with real-time updates on promotional offers
  • Paybacks for loyalty for customer retention
  • Engaging with the customer with the aid of analytics and other tools

The key trends that will impact the online retail chain are mentioned below

  • Website optimization for enhancing customer experience
  • Integrating social media channels for Omnichannel experience
  • Voice Bot assistance for personalized feelings
  • Technology-assisted new delivery models for prompt delivery
  • Facilitating apps that facilitate easy mobile checkouts
  • Use of AR and VR (Augmented and Virtual Reality) for facilitating simulations in the virtual world
  • Use of social media for promotional activity by engaging bloggers and customers
  • All the points mentioned in the case of multi-brand retail chain

Having reviewed the trends let us look at the key technologies which will help the digital migration in the retail sector (retail chain and e-commerce)

  • Cloud hosting – will be used for hosting of hardware and software in case of eCommerce and if IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) may be used in brick and mortar stores of the retail chain to reduce CAPEX of ICT deployments and maintenance.
  • AR and VR (Augmented and Virtual Reality) – will facilitate customers for experiencing the products in a virtual world using the apps which will help the customer to make buying decisions.
  • Analytics/AI (Artificial Intelligence)/Machine Learning – will be mainly used for creating personalized shopping experience and in the back office, it will be used by contact centers and service departments to improve retail experiences.
  • Conversational Interfaces (Chat Boats, Voice Device Services) – will be used for designing voice-activated digital assistants which will assist customers on the retail floor or home in case of online shopping.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – will be used in assisting buyers wherein based on the data analyzed they would make the shopping decisions.
  • BlockChain – will facilitate product tracking, anti-counterfeiting and warranty management applications.
  • Facial Recognition – will be used to measure customer satisfaction by analyzing the expression data available from cameras thru analytics.
  • Digital Terminal (For retail stores) – for enhancing operational efficiencies
  • Automated Commodity Management –for improving inventory management and minimizing losses.

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