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What is the Cost of Not Going Digital: A Retail Perspective

Technology Machine Learning Digital Retail IoT July 9, 2020

What is the Cost of Not Going Digital: A Retail Perspective


Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the way we work, shop, and communicate with people in the recent past. As more people adopt remote working, they are stepping outside only to buy essentials and are stuck by the fear of getting infected in crowded places like stores and supermarkets.

In the last 6 months, both the market landscape and consumer behavior have altered beyond recognition and there is a clear indication that the eCommerce industry will hit the peak soon. Some of the key consumer behavior changes that we witnessed are:

  • Consumers have changed their traditional shopping habits.
  • Consumers prefer ordering products online that they would normally purchase at the store
  • A sense of fear prevails among customers about going to the store due to fear of being infected

As the community heads beyond the survival mode, the digital-adoption momentum is likely to continue and become permanent. This inflection point will be primarily shaped by two major shifts in customer behavior – the reluctance to blend in crowded places and a higher propensity for digital adoption.

Consumers are opting for online shopping and will continue to leverage the channel even after the pandemic ends, especially for groceries and personal care. This trend is likely to continue long as people would still be apprehensive to visit crowded areas like malls or supermarkets. In short, the pandemic is marking a tipping point for the adoption of eCommerce and mobile commerce platforms.

Retailers are being agile in adapting to this zeitgeist since the prognosis for brands that miss inflection points is not great. Under this New-normal, retailers cannot rely entirely on their brick and mortar channels. They will have to inevitably adjust to the new norms of eCommerce.

This “New-normal” is forcing every retailer to embrace an omnichannel strategy and converge the operations of their online and offline stores. So, who will be the leaders, survivors, and laggards in this New-normal?

  • Leaders would be agile retailers, who implement critical digital solutions in both their eCommerce and brick-mortar stores to solve the COVID problem statements
    • Self-checkout, Automatic replenishment systems, Digital shelves, and Connected warehouses are some of the critical solutions
  • Survivors work towards expanding their digital platforms to implement their own e-store and partner with some of the major eCommerce aggregators.
  • Laggards in this race would be the pure-play traditional retailers who are still hoping that old buying habits and the demand will be restored post the pandemic.

Prior to the Covid-19, traditional enterprise retailers were focused on driving growth, and acquiring market share with physical stores as their epicenter. Modern Retailers have two options now. They can continue to fulfill orders via traditional non-digital physical stores channel. Or they can set up their own eCommerce platform and digitize the physical stores in order to restrict the revenue bleed.

Retailers are deploying personalized engagement beyond discounts or offers by keeping their consumers posted about their internal developments – be it about the opening of no-staff stores or the availability of Mobile takeaway options.

Technology service providers can capitalize on this paradigm shift by identifying the digital needs of Leaders, survivors, and Laggards and help them build their digital retail channels.

Draup’s Sales intelligence platform offers realtime insights to the service providers that can help them develop actionable plans for trends like Digital retail. TSPs can accumulate this detailed information to analyze and build their offerings to capitalize on this paradigm shift. Organizations in need of such new-age technological solutions can have good opportunities for the TSPs leading to successful sales enablement.