Farooq, a co-founder of Fynd, India’s leading omnichannel platform (a Reliance backed company) looks after the overall strategic vision at Fynd and heads product, engineering, and culture. An IIT-Bombay graduate, Farooq worked for four years with the leading analytics company Opera Solutions in New York, prior to starting Fynd in 2012.
Technology changes a lot, from the way people communicate to how they shop, how they travel, and even order food. With each new jump in technology, the retail industry finds new scope to level up and provide a better customer experience, and increase sales.
Brands are moving fast to implement technology and leapfrog ahead of the competition. Early adopters gain a tremendous edge, they have a very real opportunity to be market leaders and nurture a loyal customer base.
The post-pandemic market is witnessing an explosion of innovation with hi-tech at the helm. The 6 technologies that can significantly improve your retail business:
1) Extended reality
Pandemic completely disrupted our reality and this gave a push to technologies that don’t follow the same rules as our physical reality. Augmented and virtual reality are game-changers for the retail industry.
How people interact with the products before a purchase can be completely changed with the use of augmented reality. AR makes no-touch tryouts in an offline store a real possibility. AR-powered solutions can make it easy for people to see how a t-shirt, a dress, shoes, or shades look on them without actually touching the product.
VR or virtual reality can transport a customer to a completely digital experience, capable of enhancing the customer experience to a whole new level. A new world where the brand has all the control to connect with the customer and inspire sales. Some companies have started to experiment with extended reality to improve the shopping experience. Successful implementation of these technologies can create new market leaders.
2) Big Data analytics
The sheer amount of data produced in today’s day and age is tremendous. This big data keeps piling up without any structure until it is effectively managed, analyzed, and stored.
Companies are starting to focus more and more on data-driven decisions and hence the need to make sense of data is also increasing. Retail companies have always had access to a lot of data points to map complete sales journeys but making sense of this data has been a persistent problem.
Smarter AI that makes quick work of big data can help brands in making faster decisions and predictions. This can be a key factor in avoiding future obstacles, capturing consumer trends, removing obstacles to sales, and increasing revenue. The overall impact of efficient data analytics can prove to be the deciding factor for a company’s success.
3) More convenient payment solutions
Traditional payment methods like cash and card can limit buying capabilities and don’t focus on customer convenience. The rise of UPI and neobanks has already made a big impact, there is still a lot of scope to improve in-store transactions and billing.
Multiple mobile point of sale (POS) in a store can make transactions faster and act as a queue buster. People don’t have to wait in long lines to get to the billing counter if they have better access to a POS solution.
Faster and more convenient payment options can increase sales and result in a premium customer experience. Contactless payment options also ensure social distancing and better adherence to Covid-19 safety norms.
4) ML for smarter recommendations
The importance of machine learning (ML) is rising with the increase in data. Retailers can use customer data to provide a tailor-made experience for the customer.
ML has also evolved to recommend things that the customer didn’t know they needed. Companies that invest in machine learning will be able to personalize customer experience effectively and recognize what product a customer needs at different stages of their journey.
5) The Omnichannel experience
Retailers with an omnichannel presence can fulfill demand through any of their stores or warehouses without having to rely on individual inventory points.
Businesses have come to understand that not all customers go shopping, sometimes brands go to them. People prefer to buy from brands that are easily accessible. Retailers that have an efficient omnichannel presence will be able to fulfill any demand that originates from a mobile app, website, in-stores, or social media.
Companies that can effectively transition and implement an omnichannel retail strategy will gain a competitive edge, improve customer experience, increase sales and ensure customer retention.
6) Chatbots for a more connected experience
Chatbots have come a long way but they have even further to go. Chatbots are proving to be very essential for retail businesses. They are great for connecting directly with the customer and answering the basic where and what. They reduce response time and improve customer experience.
They also establish a direct connection with the customer. Retailers have an amazing opportunity to leverage this direct connection with the customer for increased sales.
Chatbots have the potential to become a sales assistant that informs the customer about the features of a product, walks them through the product demo, and suggests the best buy based on the customer’s budget and expectations.
Keep an eye out for the latest technology
There are many technologies that are making great progress in the industry. Retailers can make use of these innovations by recognizing the practical applications and adopting them into their strategy.
Being the first always has its advantages. It sets you apart and it gives you a whole new playground to explore and improve. Companies that keep an eye out on up-and-coming technologies have a better chance of being successful in the long run.