Words by Stephane Pignard, General Manager at Altavant Consulting
Due to the pandemic restrictions preventing the spread of Covid-19, there was a collapse of opportunities, which divided people into those who are “ready to act” and those who decided “to wait”. In self-isolation, people took a fresh, closer look at the role of AI and digitalisation – at the opportunities and benefits it opens to the world of retail, and perhaps its’ threats if left uncontrolled. In fact, the pandemic also divided people into techno-optimists and techno-pessimists, that is, those who are ready for changes and those who are not. The former are distinguished by a high sensitivity to diversity, and the latter crave for tradition, fueled by a fear of entering into a new digital era.
Maintaining a digital presence became a bare minimum requirement during the pandemic, as in-store shopping was largely put on hiatus. For the past two decades, digitalisation has become the greatest evolution making it crucial for all kinds of businesses to transform their operational processes to digitally advanced software technologies to meet customers’ changing expectations and preferences.
Today, consumers want seamless, secure interactions. The rise of digitalisation has brought people closer and made communications significantly easier, and it has become more convenient for customers to engage with stores and each other. For instance, retailers can now inform customers using omnichannel platforms and manage to keep them nearby. An enhanced customer experience incorporating omnichannel technologies gives retailers a big opportunity to create competitive advantage and differentiation. Understanding their needs and catering to their desire proactively will significantly help in retaining customers and acquiring new ones because, nowadays, consumers are looking for unique, personalised shopping experiences, both online and in-store, anytime, anywhere.
It is crucial for retailers to sync online and in-store shopping experiences. According to Statista, in 2022, the forecasted value of e-commerce sales in the United Arab Emirates will stand at $27 billion. E-commerce sales in the UAE were estimated to grow by an average of 23 percent per year between 2018 and 2022. Additionally, the report found that 51% of UAE consumers say stores that have e-commerce websites with multiple brands and categories and provide pickup in-store as well as delivery options are the places where they do most of their online shopping, as it is the most convenient, seamless, and less time-consuming experience.
Now, with omnichannel solutions available at our fingertips, retailers can quicken day-to-day operational processes like CRM, ERP, POS, RFID. So what are the three main reasons to go fully digital?
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