Are brands ready for a retail renaissance?

The future of retail seems to be in a heady race, with technology leading all the way. By 2020, half of the world’s millennials would be living in Asia, who would all spend significant time shopping online.

Exponential leaps in technologies, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and the growth of cloud services have all made a sea of change to the way people shop. Consumers, today live in an ‘Easyverse’, an easy universe where they ‘expect’ businesses to know their needs accurately, and deliver personalized shopping experiences. Do retailers and brands have what it takes to meet the ever-changing expectations of the connected consumer?

Top trends identified in 2018:

The rise of the ‘Millennial Shopper’
Born between 1980 and 2000, the millennial is perhaps the most talked about generation in retail. They have grown up and matured with mobile technology and they expect to use it in every aspect of their life. They want to be able to make purchases, use social media, chat with friends, do online research and buy products. According to industry reports, Millennials gave #1 ranking to social networking sites for inspiration to shop.

Understanding the ‘Connected Consumer’- Consumer
98% of Asia Pacific consumers, made online purchases, 3% higher than the global average of 95%. On an average, they spent close to 6.5 hours online a day. According to Global Consumer Survey, over 25% consumers are spending more on experiences this year. All these indicate an expectation from customers on brands to create tailor-made, delightful shopping experiences at every turn.

To attract, engage and retain the connected consumer, businesses need to look beyond conventional approaches and rely on modern technology to address changing consumer needs effectively. However, adopting technology alone is insufficient, as the most significant change needed is in the mindset of business leaders.

Adoption of New age technologies

Cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Blockchain are creating ripples in financial services, customer experience and supply chain. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the compound annual growth rate for global sending on AI will be 50.1%, reaching $57.6 billion by 2021. This is thanks to investments in retail, banking, healthcare and manufacturing, which will make up over half of the worldwide spending on AI.

Talking about the impact of technology in retail, Aneesh Reddy, CEO and Co-Founder, Capillary Technologies, said, “The world of retail is changing rapidly, and digitalization is at the heart of the transformation. Currently, there is a major data divide observed between offline and online retailers. Bridging the data divide is crucial to give offline retailers a fighting chance.”

“We have enabled stores to use their infrastructure in a non-intrusive manner to gather key customer insights such as customer footfalls, demographics, heat maps of store regions where they spend the maximum time shopping, and most importantly, constantly listening to what customers talk about.”

Aneesh added, “At the forefront, are the emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. AI and ML in retail help brands reduce the dependence on data analysts and drive effortless decision making. With AI, retail brands can automate targeted campaigns to offer personalized services to every customer. At the moment of interaction, AI helps identify customer behavior to tweak customer experience right from first touch point and throughout the entire journey. The precious data gathered, can help analyze business trends and performances over any given period of time to grow businesses further. The power of data that could unleash the next wave of growth in retail is immense. We may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.”