Online Vs Offline: Revolution in Retail

Published Date

August 14, 2020


5 minutes

Written By

Rajashree Das

There is a great myth whether Online Shopping Business is taking over the Offline in store Business?

Do you think that the Ecommerce will take over Offline Retailers entirely in the upcoming future?

The emerging technology and the tremendous growth in the Ecommerce domain has challenged the Offline Retailers/ old traditional shopping. Generally, people consider buying online due to their busy schedule and to have a hassle-free transactions and delivery options. But there are still consumers who also believe in touch and feel the product to have better shopping experience and satisfaction.

Mostly the younger generation consider buying Online but the Older generation continues with the physical stores shopping due to trust integrity and security concerns. So, we cannot conclude that the Offline stores will get vanish soon. There is always a continuous effort made by the Retailers to keep the consumers/ end users engaged whether it is Online or Offline.

You might be thinking HOW???

Incase of Offline Shopping, everyone might have experienced filling up the feedback form at least once or might have left your mobile number during the transactions. Once the offline Retailers receive the consumer information, they start with the customer engagement process by promoting their latest arrivals, discounts, offers, coupons etc.

In case of Online Shopping, if the user is searching for something or has left the page without purchasing the product then one will receive the continuous notifications or ads. This kind of effort are made by the Ecommerce Businesses to engage their users.

The Retailers cannot think of Online and Offline to be either/ or scenario as the modern consumers enjoy the convenience of both. Today’s Retailers have to become Smarter and need to understand the Consumer’s Buying Journey and track the Consumer’s Behavior. Whether it be Online or Offline, learning and analyzing consumer behavior is extremely vital for the success of a business. Consumers drive the market.  All the business activities are carried out keeping in mind the interests of consumers.

Now there is a question, how everything is done? How it is tracked and maintained?

Here there is a major role played by DATA or you can say Artificial Intelligence. Just like every other industry, AI has shown the potential to revolutionize the retail industry. In the Retail business, End Users/ Consumers role is very vital. The retailers had to design or plan everything based on the interest level of the Consumers to enhance the business revenue and improve customer’s experience.

Artificial Intelligence is having a great impact in demand forecasting, supply chain planning and customer engagement.

How AI can help Retailers?

  • AI could help in enhancing efficiency in several processes We, the Humans are considered to make errors. But if the same task is performed by a machine, we will have error-free results which help in the efficiency of the operations ultimately which can result in profits. Repetitive tasks can be automated resulting in better performance and error free outputs.
  • AI help to improvise customer service With the help of AI, customer’s needs, preferences and behavior can be analyzed. AI helps the retailers to understand the complete Buyers Journey properly and can take appropriate measures to increase revenue. With the provided data, AI helps the consumer to conclude in purchasing a product which makes the business happen leaving behind a better customer experience and relationship. AI can provide meaningful conclusions from the gathered data to create personalized shopping experience to help the companies. Knowingly or unknowingly, both the parties (Retailers and End Users) are taking the help of AI in their own way.

Virtual Trial Rooms can help in taking decisions quickly. Buying a new dress or a shoe, it’s a timeconsuming process while trying out different options. But the repetitive task can be made simpler with the help of this Virtual Trial Rooms equipped with Digital Mirrors. With the help of this, customers can have the trials as much as they want without wearing it. Using the AI technology, customers buy lenses online which is suitable on their face. A Buyer can mix and match with lot of options in no time using this gesture and touch based interface to finalize a perfect look.

AI can help in the product layout in the physical store. With the provided data, AI can discover patterns in customer’s buying preferences and understand what they buy together. Based on this, AI can help the retailer with suggestions on placing the products accordingly in the stores which make the customers to buy their desired items conveniently.

Retailers can use the AI chatbots to keep their customers engaged and help them by solving their queries. Chatbot help the users to navigate easily to the desired section they wish to.

With the help of AI, there is a great improvement in the Payment services. Customers can visit a store, buy their desired stuffs and exit easily without waiting in a long queue with the help of this technology. Payments can be done online through the App for the items purchased.

AI could be used to make targeted campaigns With the help of AI algorithms, Retail Owners can run some target specific campaigns based on the customer’s region, age group, preferences, purchase habits and history etc., which can increase the conversion ratio. For any business, customer retention is very important and by using the targeted marketing campaigns, the business owner’s can achieve customer loyalty and retain their customers.

AI is the need of the upcoming generation. Retail Business should utilize the technology in a proper way to stay updated and competent. The Retailers should understand the real impact of Artificial Intelligence implementations on their companies and what benefits it can provide to their business. We cannot say that Ecommerce will take away the small brick-and-mortar stores. The Online Players are also coming up with physical stores for their customers. So, we cannot just decide on any one of them. The users buying habits and minds is changing and the retailers have to adapt the latest technologies to survive. AI will become a necessity and an essential part of every Retailer’s Business Strategy in the future.

About the Author

Rajashree Das

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