MAKE WAY FOR OMNICHANNEL
Malls will need to increasingly imbibe technology, and there is no shortage of examples of this happening already. For instance, online retailers are now launching stores as fulͤlment centres, and are locating these stores near major metropolitan areas in an effort to locate products which are in high demand but close enough to be able to meet same-day or next-day delivery requirements eͦciently.
Meanwhile, though oͧine retailers have bigger constraints in terms of the warehouse infrastructure available to them, they do have an edge in the sheer number of stores located all over the country, and even worldwide. They have the option of re-purposing these stores so as to be able to offer direct order fulͤlment and back-oͦce stocking, while keeping a cap on the assortments stocked on the ͥoor.
Introducing Omnichannel will deͤnitely call for a lot of investment in terms of changing systems and operations, but it is well worthwhile for achieving longterm competitiveness with e-commerce players. High internet and smartphone penetration is also playing a big role in how retailers conduct their business. In F&B, more and more players are developing mobile applications which allow their customers to inspect the menu, make table reservations and make online payments online.
Fashion retailers are increasingly adopting Omnichannel retailing, giving customers the ͥexibility to inspect merchandise in their stores and then pay for their purchases either in-store or online. We are also seeing the use of tablets by store staff taking off in a big way. This allows them to conveniently process payments and also help shoppers to check sizes, styles and the availability of selected items. In case of non-availability, store staff can let shoppers to place online orders directly on the tablet, and to decide on whether to receive the ordered item in the store or in their homes.
Going forward, we will see fast-paced adoption of technological solutions by retailers, as this is the only way to stay competitive in today’s tech-driven world. We are just looking at the beginning of this trend. In the coming ten years, technology will entirely revolutionise the way people shop and retailers sell their merchandise. Physical retailers will come up with a whole range of imaginative solutions to counter the competition from e-commerce. Interestingly, this movement is primarily being fueled by start-up tech companies with a focus on disruptive innovation – and India has a clear edge in terms of saturation of such ͤrm.