Though the Group recorded an impressive performance in the previous financial year admist the pandemic, CA sales have identified some trends in retail industry which have a potential of impacting a permanent change to the landscape altogether.
• Value- A trend which has taken all the world by storm including Africa.’ Retailer brand expansion and a rising investment in private label’ are are some ways in which this trend is embraced by others in the retail industry. This gives the diversity in value given and also adds to market differentiation.
•Omni-channel shopping- Omni-channel retail, or omnichannel commerce is a multichannel approach to sales that focus on providing seamless customer experience whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store. Shoppers are shifting to this kind of shopping.
• Artificial intelligence (AI)- This refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. Fundamentally, AI will change both the front and back end of retail. Store design will be impacted including the incorporation of virtual assistance and built-in media opportunities for augmented reality.
• Blockchain –is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. Already being used by Walmart and Carrefour to track the origin of fresh goods, blockchain is among the trends to look out for in retail Industry. This technology makes traceability, tracking, transparency and authentication easy, which play a significant role in increased efficiency and safety for the shopper.
• Robotics – Beginning with process automation and warehouse management, the science of robotics will infuse mainstream retail in years to come as the hardware and software becomes more cost effective. This will extend to the automation of physical tasks and virtual assistants to the use of drones and autonomous vehicles for deliveries.
“Apart from lower disposable incomes, the state of the economy also shifted retail trends. Retail trends are driven by the macro environment, most directly the state of the economy, prevailing social conditions and the rapid evolution of technology, a key enabler of retail evolution. The advent of Covid-19 precipitated an unprecedented global re-set as safety soared to the number one shopper priority for a period. This hugely accelerated e-commerce, including FMCG, and fastforwarded retailer plans to develop or evolve their digital platforms and the distribution capabilities to service the demand.” the report observed.