The pace of global disruption and digital transformation has compelled retail and ecommerce companies to become agile in every process to succeed.
Innovative disruptions and an increasingly connected ‘phygital’ world have shaken up established traditional business models and made the earlier known rules of success redundant. Cycle times and planning times are expected to shrink as complex processes get reconfigured through bots and concepts like AI and IoT.
Digital provides opportunities for retailers to acquire new customers, engage better with existing customers, and reduce the cost of operations, along with various other benefits that have a positive influence from a revenue and margin perspective.
Beyond technology, digital transformation for the retail and ecommerce space revolves around the customers, how you reach them, and ultimately, how you make their lives easier. Digital technologies help understand consumer needs (cognitive), provide greater assortment (visual merchandising), help shoppers decide (virtual trial rooms), lower cost (robotics and process automation), increase loyalties (blockchain) and enhance customer service (AI base self-learning systems).
But there’s risk in viewing digital only through a prism of technology investments. At the core of digital for any retailer is a wider ability to build a culture of collaboration, the capability of using data to break through functional and organizational boundaries, using technology to unearth new possibilities for enhanced customer value and completely reimagining the store of the future.
At Kilowott we believe that digital transformation isn’t just a buzz word. It’s the evolution of how business is conducted in the digital age. The most successful players in retail will not be either e-commerce or brick and mortar, but the right combination of both.
We help both online and offline retailers improve business operations and become more customer-oriented by eliminating the limitations in their services. We help them implement various advanced technologies and create personalized customer experiences by focusing on discrete strategy rather than just one technique or piecemeal efforts.
Here are the areas that will define the store shopping experience of the future.
Augmented reality and 3D printing
Many global retail giants have already set the path and shown us how AR has been effectively used to deliver multiple in-store benefits. There are AR-based apps that allow customers to virtually try products, rather than waiting for their turn in front of crowded trail rooms. AR, combined with the power of 3D printing, help customers in viewing simulated experiences for how a particular product will look in a particular setting or whether a paint will suit the walls of their homes. AR has the potential to completely change the way a physical store and even ad hoardings and huge screens are regarded.
Robotics and automation
Global retail brands have been using robots in their stores for shelf-scanning for a few years now. This technology, which has been widely used in warehouses, is now finding its way to the stores with various new applications across markets. Robots can be effectively used for real-time inventory replenishment, picking and monitoring misplaced items. It improves operational efficiency, while reducing manual tasks and improving the overall shopping experience. Robotics is even being applied to enhance customer service and experience through robotic self-service systems for ordering, billing and follow-ups, as well as tracking a customer’s journey and using the data for actionable insights.
Integrated IoT capabilities are going to be an essential for physical retail stores in an era of connected devices. ‘Smart shelves’, for instance, has been one of the many ways in which IoT is leveraged within stores, primarily for inventory management. Beacons are already in the mainstream for proximity marketing, using simple Bluetooth technology.
Facial recognition and conversations
In addition to preventing in-store theft and crime, facial recognitions solutions will be used to bring in-store service personalization and gathering customer buying patterns. Facial recognition will help retailers in leveraging big data and analytics to further create more positive shopping experience for consumers. Meanwhile, conversational interfaces like chatbots will help customers find the right products, answer queries and will recommend new products. Retailers could look at replacing counters with chatbots.
Retailers can customize their content with ML algorithms finding patterns in large amounts of structured and unstructured data such as images and text collected through data capture tools. These algorithms can even take into consideration the UI and UX of a user such as color, image intensity, favorite style, activity history, etc. The ecommerce app can then be customized to suit individual preferences.
Such operational innovations and consistent experiences need to be bolstered by the right technology, i.e. a mix of cloud, automation, CRM software, data analytics and more. Get in touch with Kilowott’s domain experts to understand how you can keep your retail operation relevant and customers engaged.
The ngX Framework
Based on our deep design and technical experience across industries we’ve developed a proprietary digital framework, the ngX framework, which is leveraged across all our projects.
The ngX framework consists of the following steps:
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