The retail and logistics industries have witnessed immense changes in the past year — from new business models to adoption of new technologies and rising orientation toward customers. What will continue to dominate the market, what is no longer relevant, and what are the new shifts in the industry?
Here are the five trends for retail and logistics companies to take into account.
1. Digital Consumer
Today’s consumers seek personalized omnichannel experiences and superior service. They demand easier purchasing journeys and omnichannel availability. They want to minimize the time spent making a purchase while maximizing choice and convenience.
Consumers have little tolerance for long lines, unknowledgeable staff, and the absence of personalization, especially while shopping in-store. They are more conscious than ever about the impact of their purchases on their health, the environment, and the world.
Data forms the bedrock of all analytics. The right data at the right time can help design dynamic business strategies and cater to changing consumer preferences. For instance, there are stores offering consumers the option to shop online and pick up the goods through a convenient curbside service. This offering is driven by access to the right data at the right time.
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Traditional supply chain models carved out distinct roles for manufacturers, distributors and retailers, but e-commerce platforms are blurring lines. Customers also expect companies to follow all required regulatory compliances and implement sustainable practices for packaging and sourcing.
Learning new skills that help companies get work done more quickly and efficiently is a necessity. For most retailers, labor is a huge expense, second only to merchandise. Therefore, any digital transformation effort needs to focus on optimizing labor cost through automation.
Already, we’re seeing instances of retail organizations investing in in-store robots for cleaning, inventory management and warehouse operations.
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5. Dynamic networks
Players in the retail value chain need to scale up their networks to operate efficiently and seamlessly across the business. They need to think about platforms that build the right environment to provide an omnichannel experience to their consumers.
Retail companies can set their businesses up for success by prioritizing consumer experience. This means reimagining the consumer journey to provide personalization and omnichannel convenience at scale. This also means becoming a “Live Enterprise” that continuously learns and evolves to meet customer demands.
Finally, companies should explore opportunities to rethink their business model to cater to customers, such as selling directly to consumers.
Per IDC, by 2021, 30% of retailers will provide real-time contextual experiences where conversational search is empowering, services find customers, and consumers monetize their data. By 2023, 25% of retailers will create more customer promoters by interweaving customer experience, product and service development.
The pace of change today is unlike anything we’ve seen earlier. For retailers and logistics companies, the time is ripe to rethink their value chain and adapt so that they can hold on to their customers and explore new opportunities.
Dinesh Bajaj is senior VP and industry head Americas – consumer, retail and logistics at Infosys.