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COVID-19 hastens retail digital transformation: GlobalData

10
Jul '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Pandemic-induced social distancing guidelines are forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to rapidly embrace digital technologies and navigate the crisis. With rising competition from e-commerce, reduced foot traffic and low consumer confidence, the need to build digital capabilities is now or never for physical stores, says data analytics firm GlobalData.

“Tech-enabled applications like virtual queuing, footfall analytics, contactless payments, self-checkout and chatbots have suddenly seen an uptick at point-of-sale for retailers,” according to Venkata Naveen, disruptive tech analyst at GlobalData.

The Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center highlights how various retailers around the world are using digital technologies to increase the customer footfall while meeting the safety standards.

US retailer Kroger has deployed QueVision technology to monitor customer footfall and activity inside its stores to curb the spread of COVID-19. The system can count the total number of shoppers entering and exiting the store using Internet of Things-embedded cameras. It alerts operators when the store reaches 50 per cent of its capacity, prompting them to open additional checkout windows to speed up the process.

British supermarket chain Asda has launched a virtual queuing initiative, the first of its kind in the Unitd Kingdom, which allows them to register and check into a virtual queue on their smartphone and then wait until their turn. Shoppers can check the waiting time and choose a store according to their convenience. The new system has been experimented at Asda’s store in Middleton, Leeds and the retailer plans to implement across its stores across the country.

French sporting goods retailer Decathlon has partnered with MishiPay to introduce a mobile self-checkout solution across its 81 retail stores in Germany. Customers can scan the barcode of the products using their smartphone to get full product details along with offers or promotions and checkout with their mobile app. Once the payment is done, the RFID security tag on the product is disabled, enabling the customer to exit the store, UK-based GlobalData said in a press release.

Lidl Ireland has launched a WhatsApp-based chatbot to help shoppers find out the least busy time for shopping at its stores. The retailer has developed the platform using in-house customised software to segregate waiting queues based on time and day. Using WhatsApp, consumers can text about the time and day they expect to visit a store, wherein the chatbot uses real-time shoppers’ data gathered from various local stores of the retailer to provide an ideal time to shop.

Contactless retail will continue until a vaccine is ready, Naveen concludes.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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