A journey from traditional to online shopping
Dated back to the 1980’s and early 1990’s, shopping was a really time consuming but hectic task, when every folk used to walk into various shops to find a perfect match of their requirement, but still half of the customers returned unhappy and unsatisfied. But then a sudden change was seen in the shopping method of folks with the emergence of online shopping portal such as Amazon. In the initial days, when online portal was launched, hardly people were familiar about this new advancement of technology and retail sector. The transformation of shopping method from outlet shopping to online shopping took a good sum of years to be adopted by the folks all-round the globe.
Changes made by online shopping platforms in retail sector:
Online shopping portal started with the money transaction for online ticket booking portals. Then it grew as a platform where companies were sharing information about their products and this was the perfect motivation for online shopping portal where people can shop as per their preferences. Facilities served by online shopping portal are:
Easy money transactions:
Money transaction was one of the major issues faced by buyers and online shopping platform was one of the best solutions to such problems. Online shopping portals were developed with the most secure payment gateway that allowed buyers to make a safe payment. Earlier only debit cards and credit cards were used to make online payment but with the advancement of technology it introduced other easy options in the retail sector with which buyers can make payment directly from their bank account just by using few authentication methods.
Traditional shopping style offered only a single option to the buyers and it was to step down each shop available in their nearby locality, and this limitation of geo locations only made restriction to the buyers’ choice too. Online shopping removed the lines of geo limitation and facilitated buyers to buy a perfect commodity which precisely satisfies their requirements.
Monopoly always brings a compromise in the price and this came to an end when online portal emerged. E-commerce portals were the platform which gave place for each and every brand, each and every category to list down their products but also brought a huge competition among them. This added lots of offers and discounts making it most affordable option for shopping.
Do consumer interaction ways are changing for the retailer, if yes then how?
Since the pandemic hit the world, almost all business sectors have gone through a noticeable change and the retail sector is not even untouched if this effect. One of the most surprising changes which have transformed the entire retail industry is the way consumers started interacting with the retailers. With the increase in a pandemic situation, the rate of interaction was continuously crawling down and by the end of the year, 2020 17% of customers got shifted from their regular retail stores and opted for other online solutions to satisfy their requirements. Since the past year, a rapid surge in online grocery stores with home delivery options has been noticed.
The regular offline transactions have been decreased by 30% as compared to the year 2019 and the transactions over online channels have been taken a spike of 57%. Several engagement models emerged in the current year with various online shopping features, and these models are going to have a long-lasting existence in the market. Most of the customers are willing to continue this shopping model which is giving them effective services in the least effort. This up-surging trend is also changing the ways and methodologies of retailers contacting their customers and has made a great difference in the retail sector. The ways used by retailers to communicate with their customers, one of the major ways used by them we have discussed below.
Pocket in the store:
The emergence of an online retail store has helped the stores to wrap their services to a desktop, laptop, or mobile screen and let their customers carry their favorite store within their pockets to use it anytime anywhere. The studies say that a rapid shift of 50% traffic has been seen from offline to online stores. The latest mobile technologies are complimenting in-store capabilities and allowing the retailers to contact and communicate with their customers giving them an offline store experience.
How retail sector can hold their customers for the long term and reduce their expenses?
Since 2020, the world has undergone a lot of changes and a leap in the e-commerce sector. Where most of the business sectors have seen a downfall, the retail sector is trending with the online stores offering home deliveries to the customers. But due to high competition, it is necessary to keep the digital standards high to satisfy the growing requirements of digitized customers. In 2021, the e-commerce sector is growing to serve value to the customers, making e-commerce apps a customer-centric solution. The two most crucial elements of today’s retail sector are efficiency and accessibility.
The major challenge:
The biggest challenge faced by the customers while buying products from the online portal is the missing luxury of the trial room and the challenge for the e-commerce portal is to serve a perfect fit to their customers with the right information. The major issue which has been faced by most of the e-commerce portal is to reduce the return cost that is making a bigger addition to the expenses of retailers. The question is “how to get rid of this issue and serve a solution to both customers and the retailers?”
Let’s discuss the solutions:
A virtual trial room:
The fitting of dresses and the looks after wearing the attire make it a perfect choice for the customers. Earlier, the trial of dresses over the online platform was imagination but now with the growth of technology, it is possible. The AR/VR technologies have given a virtual trial room to the customers where they can try each element that they wish to buy from the online store. Consumers can upload their images using the camera on their device and can see the overlay of the chosen product on their image, just like a trial room. The images are pretty realistic just like you are wearing the chosen elements and taken a picture. This technology can help the customers to choose the right product and help the retailers to avoid unnecessary expenses on the frequent return requests from the customers.
Trends in Retail technology
E-commerce has seen positive growth from the beginning, due to unparalleled events happening in 2020 the growth has soared higher since a year, as people do not opt for shopping in-person to avoid the risks of COVID. Adding to this people who work from home also prefer to shop on an e-commerce website to save time, which opens the door of opportunity for e-commerce websites to adapt many retail technologies that can help them to keep them going in the competition. People in the e-commerce sphere should look for recent emerging technologies and incorporate them to stay competitive in the industry.
In e-commerce, inventory must be managed to make sure that products are available easily for customers who shop both online or offline, that can be done by having artificial intelligence-based systems for inventory management, this tech aids in forecasting the demand more precisely also improve the abilities of retailers.
During COVID few stores were closed and could not run their offline business, one thing they could adopt is to have an agile marketing strategy for that retailers must look for opportunities how retailers can expand the digital experience for existing and new customers, also introduce new technologies or mobile applications where it helps customer to shop both online and offline.
As it has become more contactless payments and online shopping all retailers must let go of the conventional payment method of paying in cash and adapt usage of payment apps and make it more feasible for both sellers and buyers.
Also, new development is retailers can build their customized retail mobile application by offering its customers wide ranges of offers, discounts which will attract customers to buy in more numbers. By this, their value can be enhanced in the industry.
Other trends that can be adapted for the expansion of retail business with help of technological advancement are grocery delivery by accepting online orders, robotic in-house product delivery, and collaborative analytic systems for analysing customers. All these trends help for competing and for business expansion to attract more customers.