When it comes to consumption, the situation in Italy has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels. However, e-commerce diffusion continues, new interaction modes are being born and the concept of omnichannel is spreading widely.
What is the impact of these changes on the store and on the consumer? How are Brands dealing with these innovations? For what reasons does a consumer to go to a physical store? This is precisely the subject of the Conference of the Observatories on Digital Innovation in Retail, entitled ‘The store of the future. The place to be!’, in which Vidiemme participated as partner and speaker.
Digital as an enabling factor
Among retailers in Italy and in general all over the world, there is now the awareness that the adoption of new technologies is necessary, to keep pace with the innovation that is sweeping through the sector. Digital Transformation in fact represents an opportunity and the adoption of digital is an enabling factor for continued competitivity.
Innovation has engaged almost all the companies that operate in the sector: in 2018, 100% of them adopted a new front-end and 91% a new back-end solution.
Obviously, differences emerge in the adoption of digital innovations depending on the commodity sector in which the different brands operate.
Vidiemme’s solutions also include omnichannel
The store itself is transforming, becoming a place to live, to give value and make contact with the product and the Brand. It becomes a place in which to collect valuable data. Just like in online reality, Big Data allows us to better understand the customer and his purchasing habits.
This evolution follows that of the consumer, who is increasingly demanding and complex.
The concept of omnichannel can no longer be ignored, as Vidiemme Partner Fabio Salvalaggio also emphasized in his speech.
Speaking about the store of the future, Fabio highlighted how omnichannel will become the element that brands will have to aim at. The customer must also be centralized during the entire shopping experience, both online and offline.
It is no coincidence that Vidiemme develops solutions that allow Brands to accompany and follow their consumers through the whole customer journey. One developed solution allows the customer, before buying, to interact with a text and voice conversational interface that suggests products to buy, also based on previous history. The consumer can also choose whether to collect the product in the store or continue with the purchase online.
One Vidiemme solution, which was designed for a famous Brand in the Fashion & Luxury sector, is aimed at shopping assistants during the purchase process, helping them to offer the most personalized shopping experience to their customers.
Finally, another Chatbot solution for the after-sales phase that enables continuous dialogue between the Brand and the consumer. Thanks to this new mode of interaction, the customer can request support at any time.
As pointed out by Fabio during his speech, the omnichannel challenge also requires the Brand to communicate its values through all the different channels.
What does the future of retail hold?
The picture that emerged during the Retail Observatory is that the various brands, both in Italy and in Europe, are experimenting. They are also increasingly oriented towards and interested in Artificial Intelligence and Voice solutions.
We need to understand if the slow growth in Italian consumption represents a limitation in the adoption of innovation by Retailers in our country. Certainly, if there is one city above all that most attracts the Retail sector’s interest in innovation, even in Europe, it is Milan.
Furthermore, in Italy, the fragmentation of the sector in numerous small-medium enterprises could be a limitation or negatively affect the adoption of digital and the development of omnichannel.
The most important concept that emerged in this Retail Observatory is that when we talk about innovation we need to experiment, innovate and collaborate.
These are all actions that Italian Retailers are also taking. In fact, in Italy there is no lack of bases for omnichannel: 3 out of 4 retailers now operate both online and offline. Among the most successful omnichannel services are Click & Collect and Online Selling. The road taken is therefore the right one, even if there is still a lot of work to do.