Have you already wasted a significant amount of time standing in the long queues in front of ATMs and banks hoping to withdraw some cash? Well, not just you, millions of Indians have only thing on their mind since the demonetization drive came into effect, “cash.” The reason being, paper currencies ensure your purchasing capacity, and keep you going.
Amid this obsessive cash crisis, most average consumers are paying cash only for bare minimum necessities. Many have put their shopping plans on the backburner until currencies resurface; a compromise that may pose a threat to the retail businesses. After taking the initial brunt of currency shortage, the retail industry has bounced back with a plan for the future by going digital. However, in order to get digitized on a large-scale it requires convergence of numerous elements to sustain in the long run. This may also be the first major step towards a digitized and cashless economy. In this post, we would talk about these aspects and share some useful information.
1.Emergence of Organized Retailing and Mom-and-Pop Retail Businesses
Keeping an eye on the future and bolstered by the government’s push towards digitization, organised retailing will be predominant in the future. An increasing number of e-commerce and omnichannel businesses are already getting into strategic partnerships with logistics and parcel locker service providers to completely digitize the supply chain.
Other than organised retailing, numerous mom-and-pop retail stores and FMCG companies and are joining the digital platform. Implementation of digital technology will help these companies to constantly update their stock-keeping data and enable digital payments.
A recent study conducted by Ernst & Young shows that that digital consumption is likely reach nearly Rs.20,000 crore during the coming five years. To deal with such exponential growth rate, a highly organized retailing system needs to be in place. However, the core focus is not just on sales, rather understanding customers’ needs and reaching out to them to fulfil that. That’s why retail and data analytics businesses are collating data through mobile apps and real-time data to serve customers better.
2.Use of Interactive Digital Technologies
We are likely to see retail companies embracing advanced digital technologies like virtual reality very soon. Many hotel and real estate businesses have already implemented virtual reality where potential customers can go through the product/services catalogues and have real-like experience. Retail companies, especially in the fashion and apparel industry can enhance customer engagement using this technology. Three dimensional images through computer-generated simulations will let customers check out products in a seemingly physical or real environment.
Near-field Communication (NFC) is another technology that will enable customers to access product and pricing information using their smart phone through NFC-enabled shelf edge labels, scan, and add their chosen items to their shopping basket. Omnichannels will find this technology handy in terms of integrating their physical and digital platforms.
Even top-tier technology companies such as Microsoft and Oracle are gearing up for the upcoming digital revolution. So, in 2017, there will be an upward trending of investing on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) than spending on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools.
3.A Paradigm Shift towards Parcel Lockers and Cashless Payments
Other trends that are going to be an integral part of the retail industry are implementation of automated parcel lockers for package delivery, use of e-wallets, and on-the-spot payment by card swipe on delivery or cashless COD.
When shopping online, consumers will have the option to choose the parcel locker delivery option added during the checkout. Once they select this option, the relevant e-commerce company will deliver their package to a parcel locker using a courier company. When the package is delivered to the lockers, customers will receive an SMS containing a one-time pass code (OTP). All they have to do is visit the parcel locker location at their convenient time, enter the pass code, swipe their debit or credit card to make instant payment, and collect the parcel. Smartbox, for example, is in the process of installing nearly 125 parcel delivery terminals in Delhi NCR, including major metro stations, residential apartment buildings, colonies, and community centres. You can check the locations of the existing lockers in the ‘Locations’ section of our website.
Besides card swipe, there are other aspects of cashless payments such as paying through India Stack and Aadhaar Platform. India Stack is a comprehensive set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers that integrate Aadhaar for payment authentication. Bolstered by these applications, consumers can easily their smartphone as the delivery platform for various services identification, digital payments, and digital lockers. In fact, approximately 1.1 billion Indians are likely to get benefits from this endeavour.
The Way Forward
The three trends discussed in this post are likely to be trendsetters not only for the retail industry but will also become a way of life for shoppers. The current cash crisis has hard hit the industry and its associated businesses like logistics where cash has always been the major mode of transactions. The time is, however, changing with the gradual shift towards the 100% digital platforms. The entire retail supply chain, starting with the sorting of parcels, reaching to distribution hubs, and logistics, especially “Last Mile” will see a significant increase in the overall efficiency. The two vital cogs of this wheel would be parcel lockers and cashless COD, which will accelerate the retail process from the business’ perspective and provide convenience to consumers through faster delivery and instant payment. Most importantly, all these steps can be carried out without having to worry about cash.
If the concept of parcel locker and cashless COD are stirring your mind, let us know. We will be glad to provide you all the necessary information. You can reach out to us at 8882-760-760, or visit the home page of our website https://smartbox.in/.