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The latest Industry Insights from Broll reveals that technologies Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), are driving the retail sector into improved and more customer-centric strategies.
Although the pandemic has not necessarily motivated the adoption of technologies by the retail industry, what it has done is accelerate the need for those. Obviously the loss of foot traffic given social distancing protocols and fear of infection as the third wave manifests, is driving much serious consideration towards innovative concepts that allow trading to continue, albeit differently to traditional and physical shopping.
How traders retain relevancy and a competitive edge now requires them to tap into omnipresence of smart technologies that are in the hands of almost every individual. The Report shows that the majority of mobile phone users are spending at least five hours a day using their devices, which means they cannot avoid coming into touch with some advances in the digital evolution.
The Report also discloses how AR, AI, and VR are improving consumer online engagement; their experiences can now include virtual representations of how products look in the home or on the body. They can even, through 3D replication, partake in a 360 degree virtual event, such as fashion shows that were once purely by-invitation-only occasions.
Another highlight within the Report is that of Digital Malls, such as the one that Nedbank has introduced with its Avo app, whereby all manner of essential and desired objects from different suppliers can be ordered. Digital Malls are being viewed as a replacement to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, and for many retailers who go this route, there is immediate benefit from providing an immersive and engaging experience.
The report suggests that retailers now have to find the balance between e-commerce to v-commerce to remain relevant online, as well as finding the sweet spot between what should be available online and how to continue to encourage physical store visits, when it is safe to do so.
The conclusion by the Broll Industry Insights team is that no longer is it a matter of if digital technologies should be adopted by retailers, but when.