When the pandemic hit our country, almost all industries shift to the digital era. But the Indian retail industry has drastically seen a change during these times. The epidemic shifted consumer perceptions about internet shopping and digital payments, resulting in a preference for both.
Furthermore, with the world’s attention moving toward health and safety, it’s no surprise that the events of 2020 have influenced how people buy today. To keep up with changing consumer expectations, this accelerated already-growing trends and a digital revolution in retail. As a result, India’s e-commerce retail business, valued at $30 billion in 2019, is expected to grow at a 30 percent CAGR to reach $200 billion in gross merchandise value by 2026.
Some of the trends have filtered out during pandemics and are proving as a catalyst for the retail industry. Some of them which need to be followed after a pandemic is:
- FASTEST DELIVERY
The only thing which gave consumers immense happiness is the delivery of their items as fast as possible. Retailers grew their order fulfillment systems efficiently by reusing their shuttered stores as local fulfillment centers to suit urgent consumer needs. As a result, customers would anticipate the same experience and delivery timings after the pandemic, and same-day delivery is likely to become the norm beyond the pandemic.
- MASS ACCEPTANCE OF UPI
During a pandemic, when everyone was scared to touch anything outside, UPI payment came as a wish in people’s lives. As a result, consumers and retailers have primarily adopted this contactless and hassle-free method of payment. UPI provides clients with convenience both online and offline and a simple digital payment solution for merchants. Retailers should continue to provide the convenience of purchasing in the aftermath of the epidemic by experimenting with various payment methods.
- VIRTUAL TRIAL ROOMS
Because of the pandemic, try before you buy risky and avoided by most of the people. On the other hand, retailers are experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) to provide ‘virtual try-on for their products such as clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics. Augmented reality shopping experiences can be given in-store or via mobile apps and websites. Thus, virtual shopping is feasible from anywhere, and clients have access to an endless avenue of product options.
- EMPLOYING ROBERTSON-HOUSE
Robotics and autonomous technology have begun to prove their usefulness in the retail industry in 2021, despite their previous status as science fantasy. For example, Safeway, a supermarket operator, is testing a new driverless cart service that will deliver goods to homes in the area. Serve Robotics, formerly known as Postmates X, is also working on an Uber delivery robot. Walmart is likewise preparing to deploy autonomous trucks for delivery this year.
Every shop understands the need to evolve to stay competitive, and the COVID-19 outbreak only emphasized that point. With an increasing demand for precise retail services like BOPIS, inventory tracking, shopper data, and even store format modifications, choosing the right tools — and the appropriate partners — is more crucial than ever.
The retail sector will see enormous growth if, without any conditions, the Narendra Modi government legalizes direct selling by foreign corporations in Indian retail in all forms. This will allow all merchants, large or small, online or offline, to access FDI and compete on an equal footing. As a result, all stakeholders, including millions of small dealers and consumers, will benefit. Increasing FDI in retail is one of the most acceptable options for increasing investment.