By George J. Newton
Modern times. The last two years have been incredibly up and down, especially with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s no doubt it’s an event that affected everything. However, there was perhaps no public industry more affected than the retail industry, yet despite what you may think, the industry survived incredibly and has even seen some growth.
COVID-19 has had a severe influence on the retail industry, especially with city lockdowns and blocked borders. However, it’s worth noting that while e-commerce grew in popularity, physical stores struggled to stay afloat. This was just another nail in the coffin as to what has been happening to brick-and-mortar stores over the last few years.
With all this combined being just the tip of the iceberg, one thing is for certain. Technology is changing the game in many ways. In today’s article, we’re going to specifically explore how technology is affecting the retail industry these days and what kind of impact you need to be keeping an eye open for.
Using Technology To Build Consumer Trust
Since the pandemic, health and safety have become such a big part of the consumer’s priorities because they want to interact with businesses that they can trust not to put them at risk, so much so this has become the second-largest demographic of modern consumers. This means minimizing unnecessary risks for your customers to go through.
Technology is the key to making this happen.
By automating shop occupancy and monitoring social distancing compliance, innovative retailers are upgrading their in-store digital capabilities to create smarter stores and adapt to this demand shift.
There are also many retailers employing artificial intelligence (AI), smart sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure, and other developing applications to streamline operations while also unlocking the potential for better customer insights - allowing for a consistent customer experience across all channels, which brings us nicely onto our next point.
Using Artificial Intelligence To Make Shopping More Pleasant
Since retailers are struggling with fewer people visiting shops and wanting to avoid pandemic symptoms, and the fact it’s easier to buy something online than it is to go in-store, it’s up to retailers to fight the curve and instead aim to make their retail experience more inviting than ever before.
“There are many ways to go about this. For example, stores might set up real-time alerts to notify personnel when maximum occupancy is achieved. It also can provide particular staffing insights, such as identifying when staffers should be stationed at entrances for crowd control, based on occupancy statistics,” explains Sarah Farris, a business writer at Originwritings and 1day2write.
Given the high expense and risk of employing employees to maintain social distancing and occupancy standards, automating these procedures can save lives, alleviate anxiety, and safeguard retailer margins.
You could also use technology to set up Click-and-Collect services and run experiences, like Instagram photoshoot booths and so on, that means people can shop online for what they want, but they’re coming to the store to pick it up, hopefully being drawn in by the experiences that therefore spending more while they’re in the store.
Using Data To Improve Shopper Experiences And Outcomes In The Retail Sector
Consumers of the modern age, especially now we’re post-pandemic, want a consistent and smooth purchasing experience no matter when, where, or how they shop or connect with a company. It doesn’t matter that people are vaccinated, and the main threat of the pandemic is seemingly over, the mindset of social distancing and wanting to be safe still remains.
“Using technology, retailers are better positioned to anticipate customer requests and follow through with their delivery by employing intelligent operating platforms to generate prescriptive, data-driven outcomes. This means that businesses are streamlining their processes at all levels to ensure the customer experience is as smooth and as customer-centric as possible,” shares Tom Harrison, a recruiter at Britstudent and Australia2write.
What’s more, using data, this system can be improved all the time. Say a retailer is using surveys to monitor the customer experience. If someone wasn’t happy with a certain aspect of the experience, managers or AI would be able to identify trends and then can be incredibly proactive in addressing these issues to optimize the overall experience.
As the business advances, retailers across the board, from grocery and clothes to home improvement and malls, must guarantee that they have access to technology and technologies that will enable them to link people and merchandise in novel ways, beginning with the use of data.
About The Author
George J. Newton is a business development manager and content writer for Essay writing services and PhD Kingdom. He was a business consultant but is now using his skills to help businesses grow and adapt in a post-COVID world. He also contributes his work to websites such as Do my coursework.