How Can Technology Help Overcome Challenges Faced By Brands & Retailers?
12 Aug 2022 How Can Technology Help Overcome Challenges Faced By Brands & Retailers?
Up until 2020, the Indian retail world was slow to adopt new technologies. With heavy discounts, sweetheart deals, etc., you had to force retail company managers to take a serious look at technology. However, post-pandemic, Indian retailers and brands have been operating in dynamic environment, with digital technology playing a central role in transforming retail strategy.
India’s e-commerce is anticipated to expand much further in the future years. According to a joint report by Flipkart and Bain & Co., in the future, the e-retail market is expected to grow to about $140 billion by FY26, increasing at approximately 25%–30% per annum over the next 5 years. The growth will be led by smaller towns, that account for four out of five new shoppers. In addition to small towns, women and older shoppers have gained prominence in the online shopper base over the last year, and this trend is expected to continue.
Unsurprisingly, after the COVID-19 outbreak, retailers have been increasingly exploring the role of digital in transforming in-store experiences. India is expected to have 220 million online shoppers by 2025, up from 140 million in 2021. As businesses in the region define their strategies, they must combine digital technology with customer engagement that still values a real human experience.
On the other hand, with these shifting dynamics, retailers confront staff shortages, which force them to do more with fewer resources, such as managing available inventory for optimum efficiency and sales and handling erratic deliveries and replenishment schedules. Here are five ways how technology can help you combat these challenges:
Investment in technology assists retailers in optimising overall operations and overcoming delivery issues through analytics, inventory monitoring, and workflow management.
- Seamless Customer Experience: Customers frequently transition between online and in-store shopping and want to shop with brands that offer the best of both worlds. The greatest difficulty here is for brands to communicate with customers wherever and however they choose. Omnichannel integration tools aim to do just that and meet and engage with customers on their terms. An omnichannel technology solution such as Rubicon can help integrate offline channels and enable brands to get orders from any digital channels and fulfil it from any stock point. It can assist brands in reaching customers wherever they are, on any device, and however they want to shop while providing a superior customer experience.
- Manage a Huge Amount of Data: The point-of-sale (POS) technology is newer than traditional sales methods, yet it has grown increasingly important in retail. POS machines are a system that monitors the transactions that take place in every retail establishment. The POS machine automatically enters transaction details into the system, eliminating the need for extra effort and the possibility of human error. ERP tools take the characteristics of POS machines one step further – all data information is instantaneously reflected in retail outlets and the core ERP tool.
- Data Protection: Despite this number being nearly half of what it was before COVID-19, 24% of consumers are concerned about how their data is being used due to the rise in online shopping. Even as the percentage of consumers who are concerned declines, data protection remains a top priority for all consumers. To prevent fraudulent operators from gaining access to personal customer data, retailers must verify the legitimacy of visitors to their e-commerce websites. Companies must implement automated solutions – two-factor authentication is an important component that should be incorporated into the entire strategy of every business.
- Inventory Management: Brands and retailers often have inventory distributed across multiple stock points that operate in siloes. These stock points include brand-owned retail stores, franchise-owned retail stores, brand warehouses and marketplace fulfilment centres. Due to locked inventory, brands are unable to have real-time inventory syncing across retail channels while fulfilling orders. This leads to inefficiency in stock utilization and loss of revenue. Inventory Management System (IMS) on Rubicon provides a single view of inventory across all channels. Brands can allocate their inventory globally or break it down channel-wise based on their needs. IMS updates the inventory and publishes it to reflect every sale made across channels in real-time.
- Digitizing retail store operations: Retail stores often face multiple challenges such as manpower deployment, seamless communication between store staff and central teams at regional/HQ offices and lack of workflow management systems for smooth operations. In today’s world, digitization of retail store operations is critical. Applications such as Ace Turtle’s Connect app helps to digitize traditional offline retail store operations. The store’s staff can download the app and create tickets to digitise operations including visual merchandising. It provides data & analytics to brands for making better business decisions. It also makes the retail stores more scalable and operations repeatable with reduced human dependency. The other benefits include cost efficiency by reducing the need for a lot of manpower, seamless knowledge transfer among store staff, increased sales due to consistent in-store shopping experiences and consistency across channels.
We recommend that brands select a retail-specific technology partner who can assist them in automating their retail operations, from maintaining a good inventory system and sales to managing prospective customers.