The rise of e-commerce has not spelled the end of physical stores, but rather the beginning of a new era of retail, where omnichannel strategies and experiential retail concepts reign supreme, says an industry player.
Offline shopping experiences have been enhanced with the introduction of various tech-enabled tools such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence
The Indian retail real estate sector has seen a lot of changes in the past few years, and technology has been a great influence on this change. From online shopping to shopping in stores with tech-enabled tools, there have been a lot of changes we have seen these past few years.
Customers are able to shop whenever, wherever they want with the help of integration and omnichannel retail. To interact with customers and offer a more individualised experience, retailers are utilising technologies like smartphone apps and in-store kiosks.
There has been a huge rise in the retail real estate sector and it will continue to grow with the help of technology.
Nandini Taneja, vice-president (leasing) of real estate firm ReachPro Group, said, “Offline shopping experiences have been enhanced with the introduction of various tech-enabled tools such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. These tools have made it possible for shoppers to have a more interactive and personalised shopping experience. For example, retailers can use augmented reality to allow customers to try on clothing virtually and see how it would look on them before making a purchase. In addition, mobile apps and smart mirrors can help customers find products quickly and easily.”
Integration and omnichannel retail allow customers to shop on their terms, whenever and wherever they want. Retailers are using technologies such as mobile apps and in-store kiosks to connect with customers and provide a more personalised experience.
Leading brands like Nike, Adidas and Apple India have also opened several experiential-based offline stores at select locations in India. These stores offer customers a unique shopping experience that goes beyond just buying products. It features interactive displays, customisation services, and immersive experiences that allow customers to engage with the brand meaningfully. Internationally, some stores offer customers a chance to design their own shoes using a 3D printing process.
Landlords and mall owners are creating more flexible models of revenue sharing and minimum guarantees to attract tenants and increase business. These models allow tenants to pay a percentage of their revenue instead of a fixed rent, which reduces their risk and helps them manage their cash flow. At the same time, landlords and mall owners benefit from increased foot traffic and sales.
Shiwang Suraj, founder & director of Inframantra, said, “The Indian retail sector is recovering, and is undergoing a profound transformation, as consumers’ preferences and shopping habits evolve rapidly in response to technological advancements, economic pressures, and shifting demographics. The traditional model of brick-and-mortar retail is no longer enough to meet the demands of today’s savvy consumers, who expect a seamless and personalised shopping experience across multiple channels. As a result, retailers and landlords alike must adapt to these changing dynamics, by embracing new technologies, investing in innovative store formats, and cultivating a strong online presence.”
Suraj added that the rise of e-commerce has not spelled the end of physical stores, but rather the beginning of a new era of retail, where omnichannel strategies and experiential retail concepts reign supreme. To succeed in this dynamic and competitive landscape, retailers and landlords must be agile, adaptable, and forward-thinking, constantly seeking out new ways to engage with customers and create value.
“Those who are able to embrace change and seize opportunities will be the ones who thrive in the years to come, while those who cling to outdated models and practices risk being left behind. We anticipate that it will continue to gain momentum through 2023. Even amid difficult global economic conditions, international brands are expanding not only in tier-I cities but also penetrating in tier-II & III cities as they see India as a potential market,” he added.
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