Okkular head of marketing Vidushi Kala discusses how retailers should navigate the digital landscape.
We live in an era where digital is an increasingly important sales channel.
Effective digitation has helped companies realign themselves, adopt cost structures and make each step of the value chain better, faster, cheaper, this holds true for every sector today, especially retail.
With bricks-and-mortar suffering today due to the lockdown, eCommerce has become a solemn affair.
Companies that were digitally and analytically well-seasoned outperformed competitors that hadn't built strong digital and analytics aptitudes.
The pandemic has widened the gap between industry leaders and stragglers.
For leaders with the willingness to invest in the right tools, the pandemic has been an accelerator.
Priorities at hands - navigating in the digital world
Apparel, footwear and luxury (AF&L) businesses globally have closed stores and introduced new hygiene and safety processes in warehouses and distribution centres.
Though the situation is uncertain, it is evolving daily.
It is evidently clear the set of actions involving digital and analytics that AF&L players need to implement now to keep the business going.
With sales on a decline, cutting costs is an obvious imperative for most companies.
It is essential to invest in tools that help reduce cost and free up time.
Prioritise critical projects linked to core digital analytics priorities, building new data sets to enable effective marketing.
Recess vendor renegotiations, online catalogue management and consider shifting to a cloud; these small tweaks can help dramatically reduce your operating costs.
Rethink your digital and analytics priorities and budget to adapt to a post-coronavirus world.
Digitation of product development
Digitising product development will no doubt prove to be a competitive advantage.
Retailers that were already using cutting-edge tools such as, virtual sampling, 3D product design, digital material libraries and AI-supported management and planning tools have fared better than their rivals during the crisis.
Their merchandisers and designers can respond faster to market trends, reduce both sample costs and time-to-market, and collaborate remotely across teams.
Digitising support functions can also improve efficiency.
By automating repetitive tasks such as manual catalogue management, can reduce costs and effort.
It can free up time and resources to reinvest in more valuable ventures.
Companies that have automated such mundane functions have also increased the agility and accuracy of these processes.
The pandemic has elevated digital channels as a must-have for AF&L players.
Take this opportunity to leapfrog into the digital arena by making it the centre of your operating model: move your traffic- and engagement-generation engine to digital, and leverage digital channels to drive traffic to your online stores.
Besides scaling up digital sales efforts, reconfigure your store footprint accordingly.
Make it easy for customers to perform any omnichannel operation, including complex ones.
Use data and analytics to tailor the assortment in each store and to streamline and optimise assortments overall.
A fully integrated management of stock in stores and warehouses is core to any omnichannel operation.
Making all stock, even stock shortly arriving at warehouses, visible to customers in any channel has proved to boost sales.
Focus on the end-user experience
Delivering an outstanding consumer experience online is critical, reallocate your resources and shift your attention from offline to online — scale-up capabilities in both demand creation and satisfaction.
Try and reduce the friction in every part of a customer's online journey — for example, by improving your website's on-site search function and helping them discover products with ease.
Add personalisation capabilities — for example, by collecting and analysing all the available data to generate detailed insights about your customers.
Build actionable micro clusters based on customer behaviour.
Allure the highest spenders with special incentives, nudge the customers to buy in the categories where you have the largest inventory buildup, provide them with coupons, discount and other deals to free up your inventory.
Okkular is a Melbourne based Australian tech startup. We leverage AI and deep learning to create solutions for retailers to improve customer experience, reduce costs by automating labour intensive task and drive sales with insightful automation and personalisation.