The retail sector has been one of the worst affected by the pandemic crisis. It has significantly impacted how retailers need to think about surviving the pandemic and importantly being resilient as markets and economies start opening. If there is one thing in common, it is that retailers who had commenced their digital transformation journey and more omni-channel ready prior to the crisis, were better prepared to make the shift to digital commerce and in gaining the confidence of shoppers through this period.
The crisis in many ways accelerated the investment in technology versus pausing and helped retail companies align with the changing shopper behaviour.
Shoppers were increasingly becoming digital and omni-channel, prioritising essentials, rewarding brands that highlight sustainability, and retailers committed to safe and healthy practices. More consumers are now shopping online and have chosen to permanently make a shift to digital e-commerce for a portion of their purchases.
Over 60% of global consumers have changed their shopping behaviour, many of them for convenience and value. It has become imperative for retailers to start putting their shoppers at the center of everything they do.
To be a successful omni-channel retailer, they must provide a single consumer experience across all their channels; know their consumer across channels, who are they, how they like to shop; and provide a single view of the product.
Digital enablement is the other ingredient for the success of retailers and in winning post the crisis. Omnichannel customer experience needs deep and tightly integrated technology systems and enablers; each use case requires a different set of IT capabilities; requires a foundational overhaul of the IT infrastructure and legacy systems. In summary, every crisis creates an opportunity. Omni-channel retailers must better understand the changing shopper behaviours, accelerate the digital transformation journey and create a greater resilient organisation. This is the new normal.