Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck us, technological disruptions were prompting retailers to invest heavily in automation and robotics. The goal was to be prepared for the rising popularity of online shopping, reducing dependency on human labour and enhancing the customer experience. As the pandemic ushered in a new era of shopping, it paved the way for retailers to woo customers by offering contact-less payment options, doing away with checkout lines and offering an omnichannel shopping experience.
Experts believe that the pandemic, which triggered massive supply chain disruptions, could act as a turbocharger for retailers to invest in automation to complete tedious tasks that were otherwise done by low-pay workers. Hence, automation helped in rebooting retail by giving retailers more control over their supply chains, warehouse management and enabling them to offer a seamless shopping experience to their customers.
Let us study ways by which retailers can gear up for the post-COVID era, the evolving role of physical stores in the digital world and the need to opt for retail automation.
Gaining retail advantage in the post-COVID era :
2020 showed us that retail businesses with a strong e-commerce presence, the ability to adapt technology and deliver an omnichannel experience across stores, online and social media, were the only ones who were able to survive even during these testing times. Despite the pandemic, Amazon posted its biggest profit ever this summer and Walmart also saw a growth of 97% in its online business. The key is to use data to study the changing consumer preferences and be agile in responding to it by ensuring faster checkouts, personalised and seamless shopping experience and ominichannel options.
For example, fashion brands like Pepe Jeans, Bata and Levi’s Strauss are sending retail trucks to residential colonies to cater to customers who are avoiding malls and crowded places due to the fear of the virus.
Evolving role of physical stores in a digital world :
Imagine a first-time home owner wants to buy a sofa set for his home. He browses various websites, reads customer reviews, and finalises the sofa he wants to buy. However, still not satisfied, he drives to the nearest outlet, sees the furniture first-hand, asks pertinent questions from the salesman and finally purchases the product. This example not only shows the relevance of physical stores in a highly digital world, but highlights the consumers’ demand to move across channels easily, get prompt real-time access to product information and instant information on inventory and pricing.
Besides offering omnichannel options and personalised shopping experience, it is time for retailers to rethink their strategy to thrive in the new World Order. They need to figure out what extra they can offer in their physical stores that brings in more customers. Can a change in store layout help? Will more product information being displayed on a screen enhance customer experience? Can incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) give you an edge?
However, investing heavily in augmentation or technology can be a big decision. It is advisable to take help from experts like Intellect Commerce who can help you build a smart mechanism to empower you to think innovatively, execute those ideas in an agile manner and test results.
Now, let us learn how retail automation, led by POS helps stores and supermarkets.
Benefits of an automated POS system in retail :
In the dynamic and competitive world of retail, there is no scope for error or inefficiency. An automated POS system can help in retail growth. Let us see its benefits:
With so many benefits, there shouldn’t be any doubts on how a smart, automated and efficient POS can change your retail game. For more information, ask for a free demo on how iRetail suite can help you achieve your goals.
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