Post-pandemic tech trends that will reshape the future of Indian retail

Indian retailing has changed dramatically since COVID-19. The pandemic has reshaped public opinion regarding online shopping and digital payments, leading to a tilt towards both. Even with the opening of stores, shoppers continue to seek the ease, efficiency, and choices that e-commerce offers in terms of grocery shopping, personal care, and more. These changes provide many opportunities for retailers to interact and engage with customers. The future of retail has already started and omnichannel retailers have a huge competitive advantage. To maintain the momentum, retailers should adopt newer technologies that ensure ease and comfort without compromising on safety. They must continue to implement innovations that facilitate what customers want – convenience, product choice, great pricing, contactless payments, and fast delivery, to name a few.

In this article, let’s talk about some trends that have emerged in response to the pandemic and will continue to progress in the future.

The advent of one-hour, same-day delivery

The most important convenience of online shopping for consumers during the COVID crisis was the delivery of essentials within the hour or the same day of the order. To meet the urgent needs of consumers, retailers have effectively adapted their order fulfillment systems by transforming their closed stores into local fulfillment centers. Post-pandemic customers would expect the same experience and delivery times, and we are likely to see same-day delivery become a norm beyond the pandemic.

UPI mass acceptance

The UPI payment method has become a lifeline and continues to be adopted by buyers and retailers as a secure, instant and contactless payment method during the pandemic. Post-pandemic consumers will continue to avoid card or cash payments due to the highly tactile nature of these payment methods. UPI provides convenience for online and offline customers and a simple digital payment solution for retailers. Post-pandemic retailers should continue to make shopping easier by exploring multiple payment methods.

The emergence of higher discretionary spending (the next decade will belong to the YOLO generation)

The pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate their personal and professional lives, encouraging them to seek non-traditional ways to meet their needs and goals. After the pandemic, the older generation may continue to be more careful with their spending. However, the younger generation is likely to be inclined to use their purchasing power on what they need ‘in the moment’, instead of saving for a safety net like previous generations.

To meet the needs of these demographics, retailers will need to come up with strategies that impact different generations, especially targeting millennials who practice the ‘you only live once’ mindset.

Increased purchases

At present, the try-before-you-buy approach is risky due to safety and health concerns. Alternatively, retailers are turning to augmented reality (AR) to offer a “virtual trial” for their products such as clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics. Augmented reality shopping experiences can be delivered in-store or online on mobile apps and websites. Virtual shopping is possible anywhere and potential customers have access to the endless collection of products in the aisles. AR combined with personalized recommendations will be the key to boosting engagement and enjoyable shopping experiences in the future.

More and more content is now video, even for commerce, apart from news and entertainment

Mobile devices are simple but powerful tools for reaching customers who are spending more and more time online and making purchasing decisions based on the content they watch on YouTube, Amazon, etc. Customers have preferences for how they discover and buy products. In-store videos, product demonstrations give them a full product experience at home. After the pandemic, retailers will continue to view video content as an important strategy for engaging consumers, helping them with product selection and purchasing decisions.

Increased adoption of e-commerce in small towns

Small towns have shown the growth potential of e-commerce, but not all consumers here are naturally inclined to order online. Retailers need to develop strategies that work for small markets, such as job creation, setting up warehouses, last mile connectivity, and availability of vernacular content. In physical stores, brands can install large-format screens to provide better views and experiences of products. Additionally, the availability of digital payment methods in-store will ensure hassle-free orders and payments for customers facing internet and connectivity issues.

Consumers should continue with their new purchasing behaviors, with rising expectations. To navigate after the pandemic, retailers will need to deliver consistent, top-notch experiences in all interactions with customers and leverage technology to deliver enjoyable shopping experiences.

through Farooq Adam, co-founder of Fynd, the leading omnichannel and technology platform in India.

First publication: STI

About Timothy Cheatham

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