Key Takeaways: Decoding the Future of Omnichannel Retail

With the Covid 19-induced disruptions shaping consumer behavior, omnichannel retail is expected to see a new dawn. What changes have been seen in consumer behavior since the onset of the pandemic? In Worldline RISE 2022, conducted in partnership with ET Retail, we seek answers to this all-pervading question.

Moderated by Anirban Roy Choudhury, Assistant Editor, Economic Times Brand Equity, with a panel of stalwarts like Harshavardhan Chauhan, VP, Chief Marketing & Omnichannel Officer, Spencer's Retail & Nature's Basket India, Satish Panchapakesan, SVP and CIO, Arvind Fashions, Rajagopal Nayak, CTO Metro Brands, Vaibhav Wantu, Regional Head, Retail & Fashion, Digital Transformation, Innovation, Trent Ltd and Rahul Sethi, VP and Head of Marketing, Worldline India indulge in a deep-diving discussion on the future of Omni-channel Retail.

Let us take a look at the key insights from the discussion:

1. Change in Consumer Behavior

Convenience is the buzzword that ruled consumer behavior during the pandemic. Whether buying a home decor or personal care product, consumers opt for more convenient options like digital payments, doorstep delivery, buy now, and pay later.

A rising preference was noticed for a hybrid shopping model, like choosing online and collecting it offline from the store. "With pandemic and the digital transformation letting e-commerce rise, there is seen a change in the trend of how and what consumers are buying," says Vaibhav. Exposure to many brands through online channels and shopping carts like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, etc., consumers indulge more in virtual shopping.

As Harshavardhan puts it, “The Semi-Permanent Change in Consumer Behavior has made them go for more convenient options. A massive shift can be observed towards demand shopping and buying behavior as a more significant consumer phenomenon.”

2. Strategies to Keep the Omni-Channel Going

Categorizing between essential and non-essential goods and introducing an omnichannel play was the initiative that hit the bull's eye. “The robust doorstep delivery, flexibility on payments, and enabling customer discoverability have enriched the customer experience and the pillars of the omnichannel strategy”, says Harsha Vardhan.

"Engaging customers through various platforms is important. A well-developed Customer Data Platform helps in intelligent marketing by targeting the right person", says Rajgopal Nayak. The last two years hold testimony that brands strategizing their omnichannel play have higher retention of their customers even when the pandemic is nearing the end.

3. UPI Shaping the Face of Retail

"If you look at the growth of UPI, it has done a record 22 billion transactions in 2020–21 compared to FY 2019-20, where UPI processed 1.25 billion transactions. It is expected to grow 8x with a projected 160 billion in the next four years.

The acceptance points for QR and physical PoS have increased tremendously across the country. The number of POS terminal deployments from March 2021 to March 2022 is 6.07 million witnessing over 28% growth", says Rahul Sethi, referring to the shift to digital payment options like real-time payments, Buy Now pay later, which has made the wheels of the economy run.

4. The Future of Omnichannel Retail

There is no ambiguity that the future of Omnichannel Retail is shining bright. As Satish Panchapakesan says, "We are moving towards a decadal transformation. Operations should optimize technology to ensure customer loyalty and sustainability. Going online and digital has enabled better collaboration. What has been set in the last two years is an absolute quantum innovation for the next ten years".

Check out the full discussion