Retail, Behavior Change and Hybrid Systems

Merging E-commerce models and face-to-face sales, through the implementation of apps that allow shopping in a physical store without going through the checkout line or selecting a fitting room from a cell phone, are the challenges for companies in the new reality.

Monday, September 21, 2020

In order to adjust to the new demands and challenges that arose from the covid-19 outbreak, at a global level companies are focused on understanding the trends that will predominate among consumers in the short and medium term.

Restrictions on the mobility of people and the preference of consumers to avoid crowds, boosted the rise of e-commerce, a trend that was seen worldwide and in Central America.

See: "E-Commerce is Gaining Ground in the Region"

Although it seems that E-commerce is the present and future of retail sales, it is expected that the marketing models that achieve a balance between virtual and face-to-face will be those that adjust to the consumer's demands of the new commercial reality.

You may be interested in "Online Sales: What are Consumers Looking for?"

Inditex, a Spanish company specializing in retail clothing sales in stores operating under the Zara brand, is already beginning to readjust its operations to meet the challenges it faces.

Libremercado.com reviews that currently the "... idea of the company is to merge the two business models and make them cooperate and work together. Therefore, when using the application, customers can buy a garment and go to pick it up at a physical store by delivering a QR code that is generated online after payment. But, in addition, once inside the store, the application also provides other services such as paying virtually without queuing at the checkouts or booking a fitting room from the cell phone."

Also see "What are the consumers who spend the most?"

The article adds that "... the most striking thing, of course, is the store mode. Once in the store, the customer can geolocate an item in the store itself. That is, if they are looking for a certain pair of pants, the app will indicate where exactly in the store they are. In addition to these new features, Zara will also generate QR codes so that customers can remove the alarms from their clothes and pay virtually so they don't have to go through the checkout line. The idea, after all, is to make physical stores something more than they is today. Finally, customers will also be able to opt for the e-ticket, which allows them to save their purchase receipts on their cell phones, being able to access them at any time to manage their changes or returns."

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Although in this context of the spread of covid-19, digital channels have gained ground in Central American markets and this trend is expected to continue in the coming months and years, there are commercial establishments that will have to adjust their face-to-face sales strategy to the demands of the new normality, since there will always be customers who prefer to continue shopping in person.

Retail and Digital Transformation

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Considerable investments in the digitalization of operations, the closure of small stores and the expansion of the commercial area of the best located sales points, is part of the strategy that companies are beginning to implement in the new context of business transformation.

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