Predictions by Kumar Vembu, Founder of GOFRUGAL
India is Asia’s third-largest retail market and the world’s fourth-largest after the US, China, and Japan. Being the world’s largest millennial population, India is one of the fastest-growing major economics globally. Food and grocery industry accounts to a major share of the retail market in India followed by apparel and footwear, consumer durables and IT segments. E-commerce is seeing the biggest growth trajectory in recent years because of increased usage of smartphones, internet penetration in tier2 / tier3 cities and an increase in online shopping. 2019 saw the highest disruption in technology and was the year of transition for retailers who have begun their digital journey. 2020 comes with a great promise for the industry and below are some key trends for retailers to watch out for:
- Frictionless consumer experiences will become a basic hygiene
Today’s market is flooded by infinite choices: products, channels with information anywhere anytime. Digital is redefining service expectations from consumers, last-mile delivery is the key differentiator. Just like with food delivery, even retail & grocery segments are working on 2-4 hour delivery and probably lesser than that with drones. Delivery is expanding to other segments of retail like Pharma. Pick-up points are the new trend seen with bigger retailers to help reach consumers faster.
- Businesses will become agile and responsive, continuously innovate and evolve
Big or small, success and growth today is defined based on how retailers spot their in-efficiencies, have the right skill/expertise to identify and comprehend the changes required, innovate and adapt faster with changes in the market and even government regulations like GST/VAT. With new technologies like CV(Computer Vision), RPA (Robotic process automation), Beacons, Big Data/AI(Artificial intelligence) and ML(Machine learning) businesses need to comprehend the changes and understand how to implement them. For Eg: surveillance cameras are not just used for measuring footfall today, but data captured is also used to understand the shopper’s emotion, needs, vision. IOT(Internet of Things) signals to identify and anticipate the channels customers use, replenish a shelf etc.
- Serving customers in the channels of their choice, connected collaborative commerce (O2O online to offline)
Given the growing complexity of retail today, adding new components or technologies brings in a whole lot of challenges. Such integration challenges are costing a lot of time and money, thus decreasing their ability to thrive in competitive markets. Going forward businesses cannot operate and work in silos, they connect and collaborate with ERP smart platforms. With such connected environments, there will be a need to capture feedback at all the touch-points , embrace them, understand the customisation required to current business landscape, ensure seamless data-flow with systems taking to each other and most importantly understanding the level of support from vendors or partners for 100% business continuity.
- Information loaded business to in-sight driven business
With the rise of e-commerce & mobile-commerce, Retailers have found new ways to reach customers. But to keep them growing in a competitive market, it is important for businesses to turn data and analytics for enhanced decision making. Going forward with use of AI/ML Retailers will benefit on huge cost-saving, faster resolution to problems, identify new revenue channels, increased productivity, automated process and drive profits.
- Invest and measure Return on Experience ROX
In today’s world it is not just technology that is leading the change, it is consumers and their behaviours. Traditional way of measuring ROI is just not enough, Retailers need to identify the path to purchase and the factors that influence their decisions and thus measure the purchase experience of customers. Eg: Rather than replenish the fast-moving products in the ROI based approach, with ROX based approach Retailers display stock and sell the fast-moving products in the front to improve experience and drive loyalty. Going forward, evolve from “Buy, Stock, Sell” to “Sell, Buy, Supply” with continuous iteration gather data, model it, understand it, act or implement the changes, measure improve, again and again.