Retailers today face unprecedented challenges as they respond to the new ways we work, live, and shop. As a new normal, consumers are expecting from retailers more than just business as usual. Retailers are asked to deliver on evolving customer needs such as contactless shopping and curbside pickup. These new type of customer needs are shaping the retail industry.
- Transparency and Control - 9 of 10 shoppers have concerns about shopping in physical stores and want assurances that retailers are taking steps to provide the safest environments possible
- Connectivity and Support - despite their safety concerns, shoppers aren’t willing to compromise on the quality of their experience and turning to retailers who can deliver the personalized service they expect
- Flexibility and Connectivity - consumers are prioritizing the retailers capable of rapidly adjusting to unprecedented changes in the business environment
- Community and Compassion - consumers are placing greater value in the companies prioritizing people over profit by dedicating their resources to supporting their local and national communities.
As the retail landscape experiences massive shifts, the new normal will be defined by the retailers who are able to prioritize the technology and tools necessary to intelligently connect people, systems and operations. To respond rapidly to a new set of consumer expectations, retailers will need to explore new business models and consider how best to support their employees to ensure business continuity.
- Rapidly adapt to remote sales and services
As businesses look to retain a high-touch level of service within a contactless era, they need to prioritize the necessary technology to adjust to a remote selling environment while staying connected to customers by providing multiple options for everything from payment to fulfillment to accommodate different levels of comfort. Businesses should consider ways to streamline the in-store and online shopping experience through digital tools that give customers more control over their experience, and help associates respond to consumer inquiries in real-time.
In order to enable safe and productive work environments, retailers must prioritize technology that enables teams to collaborate and be productive from anywhere, and allows for instant connections to ensure reliable, real-time access to the support employees may need.
- Create a resilient supply chain
Businesses need to take steps to embed resilience and agility into every stage of the supply chain to be better prepared for disruptions of any scale, and to better meet customers’ expectations. They need to offer real-time inventory visibility and leverage data and IoT to create a universal record of items.
- Reimagine retail realities
As customer and business needs accelerate the adoption of digital platforms and technologies, there is a greater need for the infrastructure and solutions necessary to manage and secure access to apps, data and devices across entire companies and enterprises. Protecting sensitive data while simultaneously encouraging productivity are the defining challenges guiding retailers as they navigate and shape the new normal. Retailers will need to have the right solutions in place to adapt their experiences to the changing needs of both customers and employees.
An intelligent retail model can create rich, customer-first experiences at all touchpoints, from backend operations to front-of-house innovations. In another article we will summarize how to power exceptional customer experience. If you are interested in Retail Trends more detailly, download Microsoft’s free ebook after registration here.