Rohit Tekriwal, Director, Shree Rani Sati TradeCorp Pvt Ltd

An alumnus of prestigious Amity University and a passionate marketing professional, Rohit Tekriwal started his journey in the corporate world as a Marketing Professional after completing his education. He pursued an extended course at Leeds Metropolitan University, England as well. During his professional journey to date, he successfully executed his decision making responsibilities while holding leadership positions in different companies across the segments. Over the years of service, he developed core competency in marketing and business-related matters. As the Director of Shree Rani Sati TradeCorp Pvt Ltd, he handles complete marketing operations including communication, strategy development, marketing campaign planning and execution, and other related activities.

 

The technological development happening across the globe has touched almost every sector of business and facilitated their efforts to touch the ambitious growth numbers. The modern technological innovations coupled with rapid internet penetration have pushed the business prospects across the segments. The retail industry is not immune to the impact of this technological evolution; it is reaping the benefits tremendously. The Indian retail industry is a vital player in the Indian business ecosystem and one of the fastest growing in the world. According to Kearney Research, the sector is expected to grow by 9℅ between 2019-30, crossing the US$ 1.8 trillion mark by 2030. Apart from other factors, the pace of growth of the sector can be attributed to the swift adoption of cutting-edge technological solutions.

The retail sector is including Internet of Things (IoT), a network of billions of devices sharing data and establishing real-time communication, in its day-to-day operations. It has the potential to gather a humongous amount of data that are being analysed by the retail stores to understand consumer behaviour and choices. With this assistance, the shopping experience of the consumers can be enhanced manifold while offering personalised services. The retail segment can also stimulate consumer sentiment, encouraging them to visit the store and make purchases. The technology also helps the personnel to communicate with each other through wireless devices, enabling them to fulfil the needs and requirements of the consumers. Another stunning use of the technology is in the form of RFID tags which are smart barcodes; they help consumers to understand the product. These smart tags are also used to know the status of inventory and take action accordingly.

The convenience levels of consumers have enhanced astonishingly with the inception of AI-based technologies like robots and store assistants. They have introduced automation in the retail industry. These devices are quite able to help consumers in finding products of their choice and also in taking them to the products in the store. In case of any enquiry, they can connect the consumer to the nearest staff to resolve the problem. On the other hand, robots help the store owners immensely in different activities such as checking stock, identifying pricing errors, locating misplaced products, and others. The machines increase operational efficiency effectively while reducing costs. Now, the robots are used for last-mile delivery as well. On the other hand, smart voice recognition assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri are transforming the retail space. These AI-supported technologies have increased the ability of consumer service in the sector tremendously by minimising the response time.

In the last few years, contactless services have emerged as an alluring option for consumers. The pandemic has further added to their popularity due to safety reasons. The Indian retail sector is not behind in offering such services to consumers. It has been implementing the idea of queue-busting cashier-less stores, attracting today’s health-conscious consumers. These stores can scan the items of consumers automatically and also debit money from accounts for the purchased items. This service can further be developed into a contactless shopping system entirely. This technology can be extremely effective in reducing operational costs significantly while ensuring seamless services to consumers.

Another technology that is boosting the retail business in India is Augmented Reality (AR). With this virtual service, the gap between the e-commerce platforms and brick and mortar stores is being mitigated. The technology offers virtual fitting room, enhanced in-store navigation and other comforts. The virtual fitting room helps shoppers in making decisions quickly about the purchase of the product. On the other hand, it helps stores in multiple ways. The floor workers visualise the setting of an area before arranging items, making the work easier and less time-consuming. They can also detect difficulties easily with the technology.

Personalised shopping experience matters much more today than ever before. For delivering such an experience, it is essential to know about the consumer as much as possible. Retailers today need to know the consumers well before they enter the store, and just identifying them at the point of sale is not enough. Facial recognition software is a technology that helps retailers in this endeavour greatly. The software scans thousands of reference points on the face of consumers and identifies the unique face-print. This gives an understanding to staff about the consumers and their possible purchases such as the type of product they might buy, and the amount they might spend. This helps in knowing the high-value consumers and offering them specialised services.

The retail sector has evolved a lot with the implementation of technology. In addition to brick-and-mortar stores, the retailers are now able to offer services through buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS). The emphasis on digitisation has brought the concept of POS into the trend that enables retailers to offer products to consumers across boundaries. It has the potential to increase the sale and the bottom-line manifold. With time, the technology will help integrate online and offline business, promotions and inventory across the locations. It will not only enhance the ease of operation but also raise consumer experience with shopping and technology.

The inception of the QR code revolutionised every sector while enhancing the comfort of every stakeholder. Consumers don’t need to go to the counter or ask floor staff for help regarding the information about a product. With just a scan, they can understand everything they want to know. The codes also eliminate the need for print-based marketing in the form of flyers or brochures. This makes the purchase easier for consumers while increasing the operational efficiencies of the store. The QR code has numerous other applications for the retail sector from providing information to leading to the webpage. It also removes the possibilities of human error.

This is the age of technology that is leading every aspect of life. The reach of technology and the inclination towards the same have increased hugely in the last few years. It has necessitated every sector to employ contemporary technology-based services to serve today’s tech-savvy millennials who are the largest chunk of consumers. In a nutshell, it can be said that state-of-the-art technologies are reshaping the sector by easing consumer service, storage, delivery and forecasting. They save time, and money and increase efficiency.

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