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Future of Retail: Experiential, Hybrid and Data-Driven

COVID-19 flipped the retail industry upside down. Retailers were suddenly forced to face some of the industry’s most glaring problems – the need to enhance customer experience, shift in purchase decision-drivers, challenging decreasing margins, and streamline operations. It put kirana stores, groceries and pharmacies, in a tricky position, however, the major effects of the pandemic were felt by ‘non-essential’ retailers. Brick-and-mortar retailers had to suddenly operate differently; right from maintaining social distancing norms to enabling the completion of the physical shopping purchase cycle. On the other hand, shopping online became even more popular. New hybrid shopping trends started to take front stage – such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and research online, purchase offline (ROPO) – which meant that retailers had to be prepared to match shifting consumer behaviours and needs. What retailers need, therefore, is consistent customer experience across touchpoints and what will help move the needle is the adoption of data, analytics and emerging technologies. There is a greater need now of a phygital world more than ever. There is a strong belief that data-driven decisions are a must for businesses to survive and eventually grow again. Dresner Advisory Services’ update, New Findings on How COVID-19 Impacts Businesses, Budgets, and Projects provides a data-driven glimpse into how analytics and BI project spending changed last year. Research suggests that 49% of enterprises are either launching new analytics and BI projects or moving forward without delay on already planned projects. In the same vein, companies can use data and advanced analytics to keep a close eye on customer sentiment, behavior and activity, optimize online sales, and even mitigate some of the challenges and roadblocks.