The trend of digitization has been existing since a while now, but the new technological trajectories in retail stores were something that would have not been expected until today.
Social distancing, the new normal of today’s world, is going to shape up the future of retail as it goes on to define consumer’s buying patterns. The fear among people about the contagious nature of the disease would keep them away from visiting the stores for a long time. Observing the current situation, many retailers feel that an omnichannel approach is key to attract customers to brick and mortar stores.
Technologically advanced stores are the ones that would eventually be successful to gain customers’ attention. The widespread of the pandemic has sent chills down the spine of many people, consequently, they would initially hesitate in visiting physical stores and would prefer avoiding crowded places.
“Contactless consumption is going to become the new norm. This will lead to the widespread use of technologies like magic mirrors that support touchless shopping,” said Manish Kapoor, CEO, Pepe Jeans India, in a webinar organized by Retailers Association of India (RAI).
Magic mirrors are the new age technology that allows virtual trials of clothes and accessories, eliminating the need to stand in long trial queues. Today, these mirrors would play a critical role as they would wash out the fear of trying out garments, which have been touched by many. Apart from this technology, the retailers would also inculcate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in their selling strategies.
Providing a seamless shopping experience should be the ultimate goal of every retailer to gain dominance in the retail markets back.
Echoing Kapoor’s view, Raghav Verma, MD & Co-Founder, Chaayos, said that for retailers to sustain in the new contactless ecosystem will be the key. Furthermore, contactless deliveries and cashless payments will be the new norm. People are already acquainted with the concept of digitization through the Prime Minister’s “Digital India” initiative but the implementation would be more rigorous now. The scope of payments would range from QR scans, tap and go technology and transfers.
Leaving other factors aside, hygiene and safety measures would be the key differentiator for customers while choosing to go out after the lockdown.
Tushar Ved, President, Major Brands, a leading franchisee of international brands like Charles and Keith, Aldo, Inglot, etc. He says that the consumers will focus on safety and hygiene and prefer brands that offer this even if it means they have to pay more.
“As a result, a lot of established and practiced brands will get a boost up. The confidence in brands will become much higher,” he added.