Digital Transformation is Driving the Retail Industry in South America: Physical Stores

The retail industry is being redefined with artificial intelligence and machine learning after the digital transformation, and this transformation has many effects beyond the reality of Covid–19. While retail-specific surveys conducted through many companies describe a landscape that can be fraught with challenges, it also presents significant opportunities for brands and stores that have the know-how and where to implement next-generation technologies. Furthermore, the report, which emerged as a result of the researches, reflects that many retail and technology professionals are rapidly adopting technologies that are suddenly forced to adapt in the sector due to the pandemic. At this point, the cloud and artificial intelligence used in the new digital transformation path are starting to prepare the retail industry for the new normal.

In this respect, the current Covid–19 pandemic has accelerated the timeline for developing flexible operating models supported from cloud infrastructure to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. In this context, the report revealed that artificial intelligence and machine learning could have a high value for retailers, including fashion, accessories, care, and other categories. In the retail industry, artificial intelligence is often centered around the most polished and consumer-facing areas. Here, personalized product recommendations and augmented or virtual reality technologies were brought to the fore. These increasingly essential technologies have become just one piece of a much deeper puzzle that stretches foreground and background. With this technology, which has a vast scope, certain features were gained in customer acquisition and retention, merchandising, sales and diversification, product life cycle management, logistics, and fulfillment. In this respect, artificial intelligence and machine learning are empowering retail services and other critical features while helping companies recognize essential patterns often overlooked by traditional analytics. Recognizing these vital points agile, companies improved their product recommendations and revenue thanks to artificial intelligence recommendations.

In addition, many brands and retailers that rely on cloud services have focused on a specific area during the Covid–19 outbreak. This area was, of course, “productivity.” In the process, retailers focused on cutting costs and recovering reduced revenue while stores were closed. At this point, companies first needed to accelerate their transition to the cloud and their modernization efforts. As a result, businesses that move their data to the cloud have started to save money. In addition to reducing efficiency and cost, companies in the retail sector have begun to seek deeper customer connections and platform initiatives. This trend has allowed retailers to put a lot of effort into personalization and forecasting to understand their customers better. From this point of view, artificial intelligence has brought a broader perspective to this field and has emphasized important issues, personalizing the customer portfolio and covering elements such as 360° customers.

In this respect, Google states that it is not too late for companies that have not started digital transformation and that this transformation journey can still be started. At this point, even though the market for most of the apparel industry has shrunk this year, Google has discovered that interest in fashion is still alive. The search giant stated that searches for online fashion shopping increased worldwide between March and May, compared to the same period of the previous year. In this respect, the retail industry needs to be prepared for customers’ expectations in the new normal.

The Key to Digital Transformation in the Retail Industry

Digital transformation, which is at the top of the agenda of companies that want to maintain their continuity and stay up–to–date, has become possible to redesign the processes by better analyzing the expectations and needs of the customers. With the incorporation of IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and the Cloud into business life, companies have faced a radical change in recent years. Therefore, these miracles of technology started to appear as the essential tools that will create this transformation. With the digital transformation experience, it has become much more important to keep the customer in the center, know them very well, and analyze the customer’s needs in the best way. To support this issue, it was ensured that current technologies adapt to these areas.

Since competition is an inevitable element in today’s world, companies have to keep up with change, recognize and use current technology, and offer the best experience to their customers in all possible processes.

“Detail” is an Important Criterion in the Retail Industry

In today’s world, where digital transformation is happening rapidly, sectors that keep up with this field will be more involved in the business, and workflow patterns will vary. Therefore, the retail industry will determine its direction with correct progress in the new formation process. In a sector full of these difficulties, a detailed approach is an essential criterion in this respect.

If we need to keep an eye on the retail vision;

Strategy, personnel management, selection of the right human resource, morale–motivation, performance management, and follow-up, establishment and operation of technology infrastructure, updating the infrastructure periodically, opening stores, determining the store concept, product management, determination and implementation of the shelf and visual presentation standards, customer management, digital transformation, monitoring customer behavior through changes in information technologies, getting the complete satisfaction of the customer’s expectations in the store, communication, creating opportunities and advantages for customers, producing appropriate campaigns, announcing the campaigns to customers in the most effective way by choosing the proper communication channels, establishing mutual win-win relations on a positive communication plane, ensuring the music, smell, visuality, and cleanliness of the store. Thanks to this detailed orientation that needs to be provided, the detailing process in the retail sector is activated. Thanks to artificial intelligence and similar technologies, the duration of these tasks is shortened, the efficiency is increased, and the cost is reduced. The speed of communication with the customer gets more robust, and the quality improves. 

Well, if we need to take a look at the possibilities that artificial intelligence will provide at this point;

  1. Campaign planning,
  2. Activation of RFID Systems,
  3. Establishing visitor tracking systems in stores,
  4. Implementation of digital transformation in sales and marketing,
  5. Providing retail system data flows over cloud computing systems,
  6. Establishment and operation of product, time, resource, human optimization systems.

Applications Frequently Used with Digital Transformation in the Retail Industry

Retail brands with online sales are implementing different practices to increase these rates. Mobile compatibility, applications that allow purchasing the product from the internet and receiving it from the physical store, etc., are among the applications that retailers are currently working on or implementing in this regard. Therefore, it is expected that the applications defined as ordering the product liked in the store and sending it to the home will increase. In this case, it shows us that the ready-made clothing industry is one step ahead.

At this point, it shows that to take advantage of digitalization opportunities, retailers need to focus more on their customers and their unique needs. For example, target customers need to analyze their shopping journey in detail. In addition, pioneer retailers must evolve into inviting private customers to shopping events rather than a communications approach involving hundreds of customer newsletters.

Retail Industry Reshapes Shopping Experience

The era of going to shopping malls, looking at the windows for hours, visiting the stores, and buying something is coming to an end. Instead, systems that offer suggestions in line with your tastes and preferences through digital channels or applications where the whole process can be completed via mobile or social media are on the rise. Thanks to artificial intelligence and IoT technology, mobile capabilities, and developing sensor systems, discounts and campaign messages can be sent to customers according to their locations. In addition, customers can securely access their card information through cloud-based platforms; It also paves the way for easy payments with a single click. Furthermore, thanks to the one-click payment infrastructure, companies promote their products on social media and provide customers with payment convenience without coming to physical stores. In addition, today’s customers are looking for an assistant service who knows what they want and gives advice in line with their preferences and tastes on the sites they visit frequently. As a result of all this, retail chains are leading the customer support processes in this application.

In this direction, even if you go to a physical store, you can compare prices by taking a photo of the product you want to buy; by reviewing similar products, reading reviews and recommendations; You can complete your order from the mobile application. Thus, you do not have to worry about transporting the products you bought. The rapid increase in mobile commerce allows physical retail to gain value in this respect.

It seems clear that the impact of new technologies and digitalization on retail will be significant. However, the important thing here is to provide these technologies with the right customer experiences, ensure that the customer adopts them, and integrate them into daily life correctly.

There have been severe changes in consumer habits during the Covid–19 process. According to research, for most retail companies, physical stores still represent more than 80% of their revenue. With the Covid–19 process, the retail industry has gained the power to predict the future much more effectively with digital data, digital information, and future-oriented simulations of this information. With its performance-enhancing contribution, digital transformation has increased the average of fast and accurate decision-making, especially in corporate management systems.

For example, retail e-commerce sales in the United States from 2017 to 2024

South America: Fast Growing Retail E-Commerce Market

The Americas is a vast and multifaceted region. While North America has a mature and homogeneous logistics market, emerging markets in South America are growing fast and have a challenging logistics environment. As a result, South America has different challenges and requirements for your logistics solutions.

The Covid–19 outbreak has had a profound impact on the South American retail industry. Mandatory stay–at–home obligations in some countries have negatively impacted the bottom line of many orders, forcing retailers to close their physical stores. Still, retailers’ and consumers’ warm adoption of e-commerce has been a glimmer of hope, and growth rates are starting to increase. This impressive growth has also enabled South America to provide the infrastructure to grow the fastest growing regional retail e-commerce market.

In this direction, it was noted that while the South American online retail market made a profit of 28.13 billion dollars in 2020, this profit will increase to 47.72 billion dollars and will grow by 11.1% under the leadership of the digital transformation experienced until 2025.

This case shows that South America seems to be positively affected by the change to be experienced in the retail sector during the digital transformation process and will continue to develop and increase its turnover with physical stores. In short, it means that South America will make good progress in the online retail market.

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