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Friday, July 16, 2021

Time to Prepare Retail for Post Pandemic

Below piece relates to the previous post in this blog, about technology shifts in the new era. Costs based on labor usage and consumer expectations, are driving new tech.

Time To Prepare Smart Retail For The Post-Pandemic Era  By Wilson Zhao

Now that the offline market is reopening, it is time for retail brands to upgrade their brick-and-mortar stores and deliver a smart retail experience for customers. 

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of an array of hands-free technology such as mobile payment, QR code versus paper menu. Gartner’s consumer survey shows that for the first time, a majority of consumers express interest in hands-free technology including AR/VR and QR code shopping in public spaces. While few brands have made these technologies available in stores. 

As for most retail brands, digital business will continue to be a priority this year. According to 2021 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey, 95% of retail CEOs say plan to increase their investment in digital capability. It is true that COVID-19 drastically shifted consumer shopping behaviors to digital channels. And yet, physical store is still the most preferred shopping destination. 

Brands need to smartly invest in places that address consumers’ needs as the offline market recovering. Therefore, to maximize the ROI on digital and capitalize on consumers’ interests in hands-free technology and physical store, retail brands should pursue a smart retail strategy and offer an immersive omnichannel experience for their customers.

China has been leading the execution of smart retail and here are some lessons for the West.   ... '

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