Merging Online and Offline retail experiences Salim M A – Director Lulu Group
Before the pandemic, most in store retailers were traditionally wary of spending time and effort into eCommerce but the pandemic challenges presented them with a scenario where online retail became a lifeline to reach out to consumers who did not want to be in public areas like busy shopping malls and markets.
The unexpected circumstances presented retailers with a significant opportunity to do business differently and embrace eCommerce to cater to the needs of consumers and simultaneously, use the online medium to understand their ongoing requirements better, which also helped in detecting current trends on what is being bought most.
As retailers, having to adapt and face this challenging economic environment resulted in new solutions and ways of doing business and in the case of the pandemic, technology played an integral role for information dissemination, booking options for goods and data management which became crucial amidst uncertainty on exports and imports.
The trends spotted online of products most in demand also gave us valuable insights and influenced us on what is required for ordering for instore products. In this instance, the use of technology and data management became central to the future evolution of retail.
As retailers, we have invested in a platform online to cater to this new demand and surge for online retail. We also notice a lot more interaction with our customers and through online enquiries, we get an indication of what they want, which in turn influences us on what products to order. The value exchange we have with our consumers also helps us address their concerns.
Looking forward, we are inclined to keep a healthy balance between physical and online retail options in order to cater to both the customers who enjoy the in-store shopping experience and those who prefer the convenience of online retail option.