Retail is the one omnipresent economic sector. Nowadays, working on such varied sectors like finances, tourism, technology or construction is possible thanks to the multiple diversifications in our economy. And after finishing a day of work, who has not gone to the closest store to buy dinner, soap for washing dishes or even a phone case? Everyone is a potential customer for the retail sector. Therefore, adapting to new forms of demands is a constant task.
Society inevitably changes over the years. As years passes by, millennials have become an essential part of it. As a result, the main challenge the retail sector faces is to adapt to these new digitalized customers with high ethical and moral values, whose concern is the environment and climate change. Products should not only offer instant gratification but contribute to society. The digitization process, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has irrevocably changed the retail world.
Avoiding long lines
The millennial generation is often characterized for being impatient. Too impatient to succeed, to change the world… and, of course, to waste precious time waiting in lines at a store. Retailers should make an effort to reduce waiting times at checkout. Otherwise, they risk losing more than a single purchase and customer. The simplest option could be equipping sales associates with mobility solutions (tablets, smartphones, etc…) to allow them direct access to stock or to charge for an item.
The use of beacon technology to offer a better customer experience might be of interest for retail chains. Determining which store the customer is visiting is possible through geolocation. This way, the customer will be informed about the products and promotions available there.
Say goodbye to tickets and small change
Another great change is payment methods. Technology steps up to make payments cashless, easier, faster and safer. Unlike cash that could transmit COVID-19, contactless systems are safe for employees and clients. Bizum is one more payment method expected to take off. It is already a widely used tool among friends but remains an unexplored world for businesses.
The importance of customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is one of the biggest dilemmas retailers face. Having clients in a store for the first time is not excessively complicated, but how to make them come back again? Traditional customer loyalty programs such as physical cards or points redemption are no longer efficient. New consumers want to have everything available in their phones, so loyalty cards must be adapted accordingly. Moreover, customers want to feel unique. Offering rewards and promotions based on previous purchases is important. Another interesting option is to gamify these rewards, so buying becomes almost a game.
Physical and online stores
The fact that physical and virtual worlds coexist in today’s reality must not be forgotten. A store is no longer just a physical space with shelves and register counters, but it can also be a website that allows consumers to see pictures of products and to buy them with a single click. The latter concept has been reinforced due the pandemic and mobility restrictions. Therefore, without giving up traditional transactions, retailers should offer customers all shopping options like online purchase via web or in-store purchase with delivery options.
If the retail world is becoming digitalized, why not doing it entirely? Tedious shopping can be turned into an enjoyable activity through technology. This way consumers could visualize and interact with products through tools such as virtual or augmented reality.
A fundamental economic principle states supply is determined by demand. The retail sector needs to adapt to more conscious and digitalized customers than ever, in a context of a totally different world after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a great opportunity to develop and enhance technology at the service of consumers who, at the end of the day, have the final say.