New Delhi: With digital commerce taking the center stage, the purchase journeys of shoppers are no longer linear and have evolved to become a complex web of interactions, according to Sameer Dhingra, Director, retail and consumer, Google Cloud.
He says there is a need for retailers to be innovative, fast, and tech-ready to make a difference in the customer shopping experience. “Over the last couple of years, shopping has taken a different pivot. Digital has become more experiential and shoppers’ purchase journeys are no longer linear. It has become a complex web of multiple interactions, ”Dhingra said speaking at the ETRetailTech Summit 2022.
Explaining from a retailer’s perspective, he shared that brands today are required to stay a step ahead to make a difference in the consumer shopping experience, and this, coupled with market volatility, has given rise to multiple challenges for the industry.
Trends dominating retail in India
On the backdrop of the challenges in the industry and the evolving consumer behavior, Dhingra spoke about the key trends and the role of technology in accelerating retail growth in India.
He said the boundaries between offline and online have blurred and channel-less retail is rising. “Shopping is now in a race to become channel less, because shoppers don’t think in channels,” he said.
Commenting upon the convergence of retail and media, he said media organizations are entering into commerce capabilities to reach their target audience and at the same time, commerce players are leveraging media tools such as live streaming shopping events to drive customer engagement.
Dhingra also emphasized the increasing focus on ease, convenience, and personalization for consumers.
Leveraging technology to drive innovation in retail
Talking about how technology is driving innovation and transformation in retail, Dhingra shared insights on the role of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the increasing importance of data for retailers.
Saying that data is at the heart of any transformation, Dhingra shared the industry is seeing a major effort towards building unified data architecture that will help capture shopper’s journeys and understand them.
Digital maturity in India
Citing a research study, Retail Digital Pulse, Dhingra talked about digital maturity across the Asia Pacific region. Talking about India’s perspective, he said that there is a huge opportunity for the Indian retail industry as the majority of the sector is still at an early stage of digital maturity.
“We are seeing some excellent examples of digital innovation happening in the country, which is truly cutting edge and world leading. But there is still a huge chunk of industry which needs to move forward, ”he said.
Dhingra reiterated the importance of building a fantastic shopping and customer experience, which will drive the journey of acceleration and innovation in retail.
He said that in the past year, the industry has seen innovation around marketing automation, building customer data platforms, and warehousing operations, and going forward most of the innovation will be around customer acquisition.