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E-commerce has been an absolute game-changer. Not only does it offer more convenience to the consumers but also empowers them to make an informed purchase decision. 

With all these — is the retailer’s era ending? If yes, how could they fight for their legacy in this current digital disruption?

The answer is — being informed of the latest trends and challenges in the retailer’s landscape and aligning the shopping experience in response to them.

Current Trends in the Retail Industry

The covid-19 pandemic made it apparent that selling online is not an option anymore but an absolute necessity — as only those retailers with reliable online shopping solutions were able to sustain themselves whereas one without it were thrown out of business. 

Today, consumers prefer an omnichannel shopping experience due to the flexibility it presents — where consumers can order through the retailer's website, mobile app, social media handles, and by phone calls while still moving to the store on occasion. 

We are also seeing newer consumer behavior in the light of it — i.e., people research the product online and buy products through the retail store, read the review online and compare it with the actual product in the store, or purchase the product through digital means and pick it up from the store.

Challenges Faced By The retail industry

Consumers are showing mixed behavior in the post-covid era. They may shop extravagantly on occasions, while on others, save.

Also, they would want branded peanut butter but choose non-branded clothing solutions or vice versa. 

This sort of flexible shopping preferences can only be better grasped with data analytics and artificial intelligence which most retailers don’t have access to.

Again, due to plenty of online and offline options being available for consumers, it is also currently high time for brand shifts. This means the businesses would incur higher expenditure in marketing — to gain new customers and keep them in the long run.

Similarly, retailers had filled stores with billions of dollars of inventory when the pandemic started. But when the lockdown forced them to stop their business, it hugely disrupted the supply chain. 

Now when the shoppers have returned to normal with accumulated savings, the enormous demand has rolled out all the existing inventory and retailers cannot fill them up as per the need.

The reason is — a lot of industries were shut during those periods and couldn’t return to their pre covid production level because of workers' shortages. Also, long lines of containers in the ports are making it hard to transport the goods up to the store.

Looking into the marketing side of things, the retail industry is facing difficulties coping with the latest advancement in digital marketing. They especially lag in the technical expertise required to maintain successful digital marketing campaigns. 

Also, with rising consumers' expectations for an omnichannel shopping experience — it is becoming apparent that let alone marketing on all the digital platforms the consumers interact with, keeping up the brand presence on all of them is itself a hassle.

It’s also seen that consumers often find inconsistency while shopping through omnichannel means — i.e., the product found in a retail store may not have an exact match available in the online store and vice versa. This creates an awful user experience that all retailers should avoid.

How can digitalization help retailers thrive?

Today, digital tools like ERP, POS & HRM have become an intrinsic part of the retail industry. It helps make the business’s operation frictionless and also allows them to better serve the customers.

Looking into modern ERP solutions — provide a centralized database of all the business operations which is so much more convenient compared to older manual methods.

The specific component of ERP like inventory management aids retailers in clearly seeing their current inventory level of specific products so they can prepare for any kind of event — i.e., by looking at sales data of prior Christmas they can prepare their inventory for the upcoming one.

Also, sales data can be used in identifying consumer behaviors and buying trends.

Similarly, POS software has proven to be a handy tool because of the added benefits it offers, like — verbose receipts and sales reports, simplified accounting, expanded payment capabilities, employee efficiency, and increased opportunities to build profitable relationships with customers.

HRM helps manage the organization's biggest asset — its human resources. The advantage it brings includes — the right man in the right place, performance analysis, talent management, grievance management, and customer appraisal design. These benefits pile up to bring a productive and motivated workforce to the retail business.

Thank you!


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