The role of technology in India’s retail revolution

Predictive analytics then craft highly targeted marketing campaigns tailored to individual or group shopping behaviours.
The role of technology in India’s retail revolution

More than a decade ago, malls were considered symbols of a new and modern India. Floor upon floor of plush retail stores and restaurants that could tantalise even the most discerning palates, these buildings were almost always crowded. However, in the past five years, there has been a rise in ghost malls, creating vacancy of more than 40%. This phenomenon can be attributed to the rise in e-commerce, which has grown exponentially, with more and more people choosing to shop online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. The nation’s retail sector, contributing over 10% to the GDP, has experienced significant growth driven by technological innovations. Technology has been instrumental in transforming e-commerce into a thriving industry, bridging urban-rural divides and democratising access to services once confined to metropolitan cities.

Today, personalisation stands as a cornerstone of customer engagement and loyalty in the retail landscape. A significant majority, approximately 78% of consumers, favour brands offering personalised experiences. Modern data analytics tools delve deep into consumer behaviour by analysing online shopping patterns such as product preferences, browsing history, and session durations.

Predictive analytics then craft highly targeted marketing campaigns tailored to individual or group shopping behaviours. With a vast audience of over 450 million active social media users, businesses leverage these platforms to personalise advertisements and expand their customer base. Additionally, virtual shopping experiences are seamlessly integrating online and in-store retail environments. Online retailers now create virtual stores that replicate the immersive feel of physical shopping trips, accessible from the comfort of customers’ homes. These advancements underscore technology’s key role in shaping the future of retail, enhancing convenience, and enriching the overall shopping experience.

Simultaneously, AI revolutionises modern retail operations by enabling automated pricing strategies, trend prediction, and real-time insights through machine learning. AI also enhances logistical efficiencies by optimising delivery routes and streamlining warehouse operations, ensuring prompt order fulfillment. Retailers utilise AI-driven insights to customise customer journeys across multiple touchpoints, enhancing the shopping experience and nurturing stronger customer relationships.

Moreover, the shift to a cashless economy has been hastened by technology as digital payment platforms continue to thrive, streamlining transactions and making online shopping more convenient and secure.

While the e-retail industry celebrates numerous successes, it also grapples with significant challenges such as cybersecurity threats, regulatory complexities, supply chain issues, high return rates, and market saturation.

However, with the sector projected to reach $2 trillion by 2032 and online shoppers expected to grow to nearly 500 million by 2030, collaborative innovation is key.

As the country continues its transition towards a digital economy, fostering partnerships and implementing forward-thinking strategies will be crucial in shaping a resilient and competitive e-commerce landscape, solidifying India's position as a leader in the global marketplace.

Mohit Anand

(The author is co-founder & CEO of Secure Connection Pvt Ltd)

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The New Indian Express