The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the retail industry completely. After the lockdown and recession, e-commerce has become the favorite mode of shopping for consumers, and marketing over social media has more impact.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 58 percent of retail professionals say the pandemic accelerated new technology-related product launches at their company.
“Technology will continue to be used to improve operational efficiencies and elevate the customer experience, positively impacting brand perception as a result,” said Michelle Evans, senior head of digital consumer at Euromonitor International.
Brands have started using and implementing technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality to connect with consumers. About 31 percent of consumers used these new technologies to buy household items and furniture this year.
“The pandemic has drastically accelerated the implementation of new technology for many retailers,” said NRF Vice President of Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews. “While these developments can typically take several years of meticulous planning, many were unveiled to consumers in a matter of weeks.”
Other tech innovations like live-streaming also was popular during this period, with nearly 30 percent of consumers using this medium to make purchases globally in the last month. China reported an usage of 63 percent; while the U.S. witnessed a low figure of 29 percent, however, the trend is expected to rise going forward.
Retailers also invested to improve in-store tech also, with almost 40 percent of consumers prefer tech features like scan-as-you-go, smart cart, and walk-in, walk-out.
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