2020 was one of the most turbulent years in history. Retail was challenged like never before and had to adapt quickly to an ever-changing market during Covid-19.
From SOTI VP of Sales APAC Michael Dyson.
However, this led to a surge in retailers looking for new innovations to stay ahead of the game and meet the changing needs of the modern consumer.
In 2020, global retail growth declined 5.7%. A total loss of $ 2.1 trillion in revenue was forecast due to the pandemic. At the same time, e-commerce has subsequently boomed. In Australia, average online sales averaged over 67% during the March to October 2020 pandemic.
However, as the country retreats back into a “new normal”, the importance of brick and mortar stores is still considerable. The only catch now is that retailers need to innovate their retail stores to meet today's consumer demands for a seamless omnichannel retail experience.
Retailers have to adapt to changing consumer expectations
The way consumers shop and what they expect from the experience has changed significantly since the pandemic. The greatest expectation of consumers now is that integrated technology will be available to retailers in all areas of the distribution chain.
To meet these expectations and to thrive in this rapidly changing and evolving market, retailers – both brick and mortar and online – have quickly switched to Covid-Proof by investing in technology.
Mobility and experiential technology are just as important in business as they are online
Brick and mortar retail must recognize the need to invest in innovations that deliver a seamless customer experience that is in line with and competitive with e-commerce. One of the most important elements for brick-and-mortar retailers to successfully align their use of technology with consumer expectations is to understand the important role technology plays in the store experience.
Digital signage and kiosks, IoT enabled stores, cloud connectivity, mobile POS systems (mPOS), Near Filed Communication (NFC) technology and analytics are all tools that brick and mortar retail stores have available to create the immersive and interactive experiences that your customers expect.
Today, these types of in-store technologies are seen as a necessity rather than a convenience. In fact, a SOTI study found that the vast majority of Australian consumers would like to use cashless electronic payment methods in business after the end of the pandemic. Over 37% said they were more likely to return to a business that was a technology innovator. Before the pandemic, the world of retail was already swaying towards a complete shift towards mobility and cashless trading, and as the pandemic is only accelerating this revolution, retailers have no excuse for not getting the latest technology.
The importance of trust and security in mobile technology
Although technology has quickly become an indispensable part of any modern retailer, consumer confidence is often lost if the technology is unsafe. To be competitive in the future hyperconnected retail environment, both in-store and online retailers need to reassure consumers that their data and money are safe. If retail wants to move to an ever-connected, multi-channel customer experience, it has to tackle trust. If consumers have concerns about paying and sharing data from their own devices connected to their home networks, how much more reluctant are they likely to be in business?
Security risks are also an increasing threat to retailers who continue to collect increasingly sensitive consumer data.
In order for Australian consumers to have real confidence in in-store tracking technology, they need to be sure that their data is always protected.
In order for retailers to remain credible in this space, they need to implement an Internet of Things (IoT) management solution with strong security credentials that allows them to see all business-critical IoT endpoints, including in-store tracking technology, from one place to make and manage central point.
Use of in-store technology to simplify the shopping experience for customers and to achieve a competitive advantage
In such a tight retail market, where competition from e-commerce is fierce, retailers who can convince customers to dwell longer and spend more by using technology would gain a significant advantage over the competition. According to SOTI research, 83% of Australian consumers said they were likely to spend more time in stores that used technology to provide a better user experience. This reinforces the notion that by using technology in-store to improve the shopping experience, retailers can further fuel the retail recovery.
Thanks to the technology, retailers can not only direct traffic to their online platforms, but also get into their brick-and-mortar stores using smart mobile engagements. This helps support an integrated in-store experience using mobile technology that communicates with in-store access points, digital signage, and more.
A mobile-first strategy makes it easier for retailers to collect, store and process online and in-store data from mobile devices in a way that is both compliant and enables a data-driven customer experience. This helps build a personalized in-store mobile, online and retail experience using technologies that consumers can trust, thereby maintaining their trust in a retailer's brand.
All in all, the key to success for retailers at every end of the distribution chain depends on making sure their online and in-store presence meets consumer expectations for a seamless, faster, and more efficient omnichannel experience. In today's ever-changing retail landscape, the drive of retailers to invest and restructure their in-store and online capabilities with technological innovations will give them the competitive advantage they are looking for.
About Michael Dyson
Michael Dyson is Vice President of Sales, Asia Pacific at SOTI. With more than 30 years of sales, business development and management experience, Mr. Dyson has built long-term relationships with partners and customers based on trust and the ability to see when and where I can really add value. For the past 15 years, he has worked with the technology integrator and reseller community to develop and implement mobility solutions for business and mission-critical applications. With extensive experience in emergency response, utilities, transportation and logistics, and field service, he understands the challenges of working in harsh and remote environments and the importance of successfully deploying, managing and supporting appropriate technology.
SOTI is the world's most trusted provider of mobile and IoT management solutions with more than 17,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide. SOTI's innovative portfolio of solutions and services provides the tools companies need to truly mobilize their operations and optimize their mobility investments. SOTI expands secure mobility management with an integrated solution for managing and securing all mobile devices and connected peripheral devices in a company.