Before the start of the pandemic, storefront businesses were undergoing a fairly linear and promising digital transformation: physical stores were regaining their competitive advantage in the e-commerce sector, encouraged by increasing adoption. more democratized use of new technologies serving the customer experience.
But since the mass lockdowns, only so-called “essential” sectors, such as grocery stores and supermarkets have been spared. A real halt for businesses outside of this nomenclature, they must once again strengthen their security to ensure respect for social distancing while offering an optimal customer experience. Here again, technology appears as an “antidote” to recessive trends in the economy.
Indeed, from clothing stores to electronics stores, businesses are competing for new ground to offer maximum security to their customers and keep their promises without giving up on engaging buyers by offering them a friendly environment. So, like contactless payment which has gained in popularity, a handful of retailers have also already experimented with a number of innovations such as infrared cameras to detect buyers., potentially contagious employees and visitors, contactless touch screens, smart mirrors to avoid congestion in fitting rooms … so much innovation whose primary aim is to allow business continuity while promoting the health of consumers at the center of concerns. The last 100% virtual CES also demonstrated that this was the top priority because many of the innovations presented were designed to strengthen barrier gestures. such as, a sensor that assesses the viral risk in the air, air purification systems, UV devices to decontaminate objects, etc.
In addition to the visible part of the store, AI and data help to eliminate the potential waste of resources with surgical precision. Changes in demand, influenced by a possible reduction in the number of purchases per person, can be predicted using AI algorithms. More rational inventory management and timely replenishment are therefore easier to implement. As a result, supply chains are becoming “smarter”. The path from production to distribution is more predictable thanks to the GPS tracking of goods and loads from production sites to distribution locations. All orders relating to the store’s energy consumption are automatically calibrated according to footfall. This degree of control generates value and could, to a certain extent, offset expected declines in sales.
In a world where social proximity is called into question, for the moment, technology in retail allows to preserve a certain form of sociability. To support businesses that opt for the path of resilience, the partners of the distribution network continue to provide them with the necessary support, both in terms of availability and appropriate solutions for each of their specific needs.