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DIGITAL WAVE IN RETAIL: TOP TRENDS

REDEFINING RETAIL

Change is the only constant. In the past two years, the world has witnessed an unprecedented series of changes across all aspects of life, placing the global business markets in a constant state of flux. With the global markets burgeoning and customer expectations scaling new heights, the substantial need for businesses to technologically evolve to be able to connect with consumers and nurture trusted relationships with them takes greater urgency. Today, Industry 4.0 is witness to digital transformation seeping through every wall of development, transcending physical and digital channels across various industries. The business trajectory reveals retail to be one of the areas of business most impacted by this evolution. The pandemic further reshaped the landscape of retail with an accelerated expansion of e-commerce and digitally powered stores exceeding business prospects and shopper expectations.

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However, for retailers to remain afloat in this customer-driven business network, constant implementation of digital strategies and marketing tactics is vital. With trusted and tailored solutions like Dynamics 365, businesses can bring new dimensions to retail experiences. Ever since the onset of the pandemic, retailers are constantly on the lookout for latest trends and innovations to stay ahead in business.

E-COMMERCE RULES ALL

Online shopping is the new normal. Online retail activity has increased threefold in the last two years with people prioritizing safety and comfort of their homes above all. Unlike many other ‘normal’ that may revert post the muddle of pandemic, this one is here to stay. The diversity of choices, real-time tracking of purchase, quick delivery, product exchange and replacement, and contactless flexible payment options make for a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience. Over time, the online shopping expectations of consumers will take a constant hike, and retailers must keep their steps ahead. Improved logistics and free shipping are some of the magnets to attract more customers. Studies suggest that 90 percent of the customers would shop more if provided free shipping, and businesses with free shipping have 20 percent higher conversion rates than their contemporaries. The future of retail lies in the steady upgradation and enhancements in online shopping experiences. India is expected to overtake the US to become the world’s 2nd largest e-commerce market by 2034.

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DATA ANALYTICS & INSIGHTS FOR TARGETED MARKETING

There has been a sudden drift from physical to online stores recently, and one of the key drivers of this shift is the personalized experience offered by online shopping platforms. Customer personalization forms the core of retail. Retailers now leverage the power of AI and Machine Learning enabled intelligent insights and analytics to gather customer data and execute targeted marketing strategies. Consequently, customers can view customized recommendations at online stores, aligning with their likes and preferences based on previously purchased or searched products. This pleases customers, reduces their track-down time, and increases the probability of continued shopping. AI also enhances customer engagement through interactive chats, conversational support, voice searches and personal assistants.

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HYPER-CONNECTED OFFLINE RETAIL EXPERIENCE

Offline shopping stores too have undergone a digital revamping to accommodate the refined customer expectations. Contactless transactions and self-service stations are steadily blending into the store culture. Besides serving the customers, the retail industries today empower the employees as well. With the power of IoT (Internet of Things) seamlessly integrated into the infrastructure, employees can now streamline efficient workflow under a hyper-connected network. Real-time tracking, inventory management, demand forecasting, prompt supplies and instant problem solving are all dealt with expertise. With serialized codes attached to every item in a store, retailers can ensure complete authenticity and transparency of products at every touchpoint. Retailers should prioritize collaborating with robust business solutions like Dynamics 365 to integrate and channelize a holistic online and offline shopping experience.

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SOCIAL MEDIA RETAIL

Social media platforms today are the most buzzing and happening spaces, proactively engaging a massive diversity. There are more people active online than in the offline world. With everything in the world finding a social media existence, retail too has picked up great velocity. The prominent social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have given rise to a large and diverse bunch of entrepreneurs launching and expanding their enterprises by endorsing, marketing, and selling products under their unique brand names. Social Media is home to thousands of businesses, many of which gain momentum and consolidate their remarkable physical retail presence with the help of sophisticated and holistic technological solutions.

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With customer expectations ramping up every day, retail faces a wide spectrum of challenges. Only with the adoption of breakthrough technological solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 can business navigate through the strained waters into procuring customer loyalty. Dynamics 365 Commerce unifies all aspects of business into one omnichannel solution to deliver unparalleled customer service and experience in retail.

Author

Aneesh Revi

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