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Use of technology in retail going to stay, say industry captains 

Outlook , Oct 29, 2020

Adoption of digital technology by retailers and consumers has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic and is going to stay, industry leaders said on Thursday. The use of technology has changed the way consumers shop and it is now playing an expanded role across sectors, industry leaders said in a panel discussion.

De Beers India Managing Director Sachin Jain said an average consumer coming into the outlet today, has gone through the product digitally at least seven to eight times whether transacting or not is a different issue.

“That narrative is going to be permanent,” he said adding, “I also foresee that the whole augmented area and artificial intelligence and visualisation of the product at home is going to increase.”

According to him, this shift in technology has to be incorporated into physical stores as well and omni channel is the way forward for the retail.

Pepperfry Founder & CEO Ambareesh Murty said that there is a fundamental change in consumer behaviour as he is looking convince from buying from home.

“It is going to stay and not going anywhere as once the consumer sees the benefit to it, there is no reason to go back and retract from that path,” said Murty while participating in a virtual panel discussion at a FICCI event here.

While Zydus Wellness CEO Tarun Arora said consumer’s “focus on health and wellness would be rather permanent now.”

"The information-seeking behaviour would remain, that part change would be there," he said. The trust factor has become more important and people now read the pack and remain focused on buying certain kind of products.

People have become more “experiential, information seeking,” he said. "People have realised that immunity is not through booster shots but it is through what you eat. Food has become far more evolved overnight. You want food that works,” he added.

Amul Managing Director R S Sodhi said after the pandemic e-commerce has multiplied three times, though modern trade has suffered.

The consumer in food has shifted more on loose and unbranded to packed and branded product. People have also shifted towards a more trustworthy brand and also on the affordable brand because the earning has also been impacted.

While in smaller cities people have shifted to smaller packs but branded packs.

“In the bigger cities, sales of bigger packs increased as the frequency of sales dropped,” he said.

 

 

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