This article was co-authored by Associate Partner Raj Kumar.
Businesses recognize the significant impact that COVID-19 will have on their future. Many retailers are wondering what to expect in the post-pandemic world and more importantly, how can they be prepared?
Based on experience, Infosys has created 4 key areas that retailers must focus on to emerge stronger:
Transform direct customer channels
Consumers have no choice but to move from in-store to online shopping. It is time for companies to reprioritize their digital efforts on e-commerce instead of back-office or wholesale and a huge opportunity to win brand loyalty. There are 4 ways to ensure that businesses are e-commerce ready:
- Harmonize customer experience: across digital and physical journeys
- Guided selling: serve customers with relevant product recommendations, interpret customer actions, and provide support.
- Usability and mobility: are important for high-quality user experience across digital platforms.
- Business models: retailers are looking at disruptive business models like subscriptions or on-demand delivery to serve their customers.
Implement emerging in-store technologies to reduce human interaction.
- Digital merchandising: Promote the sale of relevant merchandise, through its presentation in retail using virtual fitting rooms and augmented reality
- Frictionless retail: Remove barriers in front of the customer including checkouts by enabling human-less interactions.
- Enable social distance shopping: Technologies like lockers can be used in-store to help customers minimize person to person interactions
- Local inventory visibility: 80% percent of the consumers will purchase in-store if they know they can immediately obtain an item they want.
Manage demand fluctuation and supply challenges
- Demand fluctuations: A brand’s ability to predict and manage demand has never been more important.
- Fix supply challenges: Work with your vendors to assess risk and create contingency plans.
- Fulfillment and last-mile execution: Due to the pandemic, the drastic increase in deliveries puts demand pressure on existing fulfillment services and their ability to deliver on time.
Actively engage your customers
- Timely communication: The quality and frequency of your communication with the customers are important during disruptions. Websites need to be updated regularly with products, services timings, and availability.
- Explore new content formats: Customers are spending more time at home. Create content that adds value and engaging in order to increase advocacy
- Be transparent: Be empathetic and transparent with customers and inform them about potential safety issues and handling of the product or service.
- Social media: Staying active on social media during lockdowns is important to stay connected with customers. For some industries, it is possible to set up social media catalogs and sell directly to customers who follow the business.
Partner- AI & Automation
Seth joined Infosys Consulting from Teradata, where he was the global leader of strategy and execution of their consulting and support services business. Prior to that, he served as the global leader of technology consulting at Cognizant, and also served as a national managing director at Deloitte in the technical strategy and financial services unit. Seth served as the lead partner on clients like GE Capital, the Internal Revenue Service and Bank of America. For the last few years, Seth has been focusing on how process automation, data analysis, and real-time visioning can bring new revenue streams to his clients. He has deep industry knowledge across financial services, public sector, retail and manufacturing, with a focus on how to leverage AI and automation to drive incremental revenue improvements and corporate innovation programs. Seth was recognized in 2016 as leading the #2 digital consultancy in North America by Forbes Magazine when he led Cisco Consulting.