As retail operations evolve during the COVID-19 lockdown, some retailers have opted to use new technology to better respond. Others, however, are still struggling to adapt. To keep up with the industry’s transformation, retailers need to embrace the technology that meets their unique needs and provides them with the best chance to prosper.
Data integrations and analytics allow retailers to gain an unprecedented view into customer shopping behavior and inventory, enabling them to quickly adjust their products, marketing, or merchandise display to increase sales, reduce waste expenditures, grow employee engagement, and improve bottom-line profits. Home Depot, for example, experienced a shortage of select high-velocity products during the pandemic and used available data to develop a creative strategy that increased inventory depth for those items.
Similarly, augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows shoppers to interact with real-world objects using digital content, can help bridge the gap between online and brick-and-mortar shopping. By allowing consumers to virtually try on shoes or clothing, for instance, AR helps them decide what they like and doesn’t require them to travel to the store.
Aside from leveraging new technology to meet shoppers’ evolving demands, retailers should also prioritize the reintroduction of their traditional in-store experience. This is particularly critical for consumers who have become accustomed to online shopping during the lockdown and are eager to enjoy the products they love in person again. Additionally, retailers should encourage employees to engage with new technologies by incorporating them into formal training sessions. Doing so will not only combat any internal resistance to change but will also empower staff members to feel confident and empowered when using these tools in-store.