Before we dive into the topic, let’s understand the Retail Sector first. So, what is the retail sector? You go to a shop to buy something. By shop, I mean any store where the products are purchased from wholesalers or companies and sold to the general public. The store has adequate quantities of all essential items for everyday use. Now, let’s see what technology has done to the retail sector when you go to the counter in any retail store. Take the example of a barcode scanner. The cashier scans the barcode using the barcode scanner, and the computer screen shows the price, paid amount, and amount to be returned. Everything is technology, from a small calculator to a fancy counter and payment methods. You can debate whether it’s advanced or backward. Simply put, every retail store uses technology to its advantage.
• Online Order and Delivery
• Electronic Shelf Labels
• Advanced devices for fast and easy payment
• Ads through Social Media to tell people about a particular product.
These all help retail stores to ensure hassle-free shopping, greater efficiency, and better customer service.
How Big Marketplaces Use Technology?
It would be unjust to them if we discussed technology and didn’t mention the big online marketplaces that solely use technology. These marketplaces are a great example of how you can use technological advancements to improve customers’ shopping experiences and make their lives more accessible. Here are the top online marketplaces in the world:
Now, these platforms have changed the world. You don’t have to spend hours and hours in shopping malls, superstores, and markets to find the right product. You can quickly scroll through the products from the comfort of your home and find the best match for your needs. If you don’t like the product, you can get your money back.
How Amazon used technology to its advantage?
Let’s look at it from a different and critical angle. Amazon is the biggest retail store in the world. Let’s look at the time when COVID-19 struck the whole world. Amazon’s profit soared to nearly 200%, with yields climbing over $6 billion throughout the COVID-19 period. According to the latest statistics, in 2020 alone, 200,000 new sellers from around the globe started selling on Amazon. There is a 45% increase from what we saw in 2019.
Keeping all factors in view, Amazon cannot be an ideal example to understand the actual situation of the retail sector as Amazon is a very competitive platform, and retail stores in remote areas have different demographics.
Think of it this way, if a retail store is in a remote area, say a village, and receives supplies from wholesalers. The only customers the store has are the villagers. How can this retail store sell in a competitive marketplace like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc.? Is it? Far more complicated than It seems. But even if a store has not had enough customers, it can still use technology to ease the process of online payment.
Take the example of India and even the rural areas with access to online payment through Paytm. For the amount, customers have to scan the Qr-code. In Pakistan, Easypaisa is also doing the same job. Although technology has benefited the world, remote areas still lack the knowledge to use it. If technology can be made simpler, we might see its increased use in the next few years. I have seen in Pakistan that people run their businesses online, not on platforms like Amazon, Walmart, or eBay.
The Answer To “How We Can Use Technology To Our Advantage?”
So, it all comes down to how these latest technologies can be beneficial. The word “How? “is a straightforward question. Suppose people know the answer to “How?” which can be answered by gaining knowledge and learning technology. In that case, anyone worldwide can use the technology to run their businesses. I mean everything from a simple calculator to highly advanced computers or devices by technology. And if you want to be specific, the apps on mobile or computers like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are marketplaces with just a different way of selling. People hire ads experts, social media marketing experts, and copywriters from LinkedIn. Advertise their product or service on Facebook and Instagram. And talk to the clients on WhatsApp. All of this is possible because of technology. Now, if you have a product that solves a problem, you can use these platforms and scale your business.
Technological advancements have eased the lives of customers and the retail sector by making everything automated and transparent. Still, at the same time, there is ample opportunity for every retail store to scale its business by using technology wisely. It all comes down to knowledge, and knowledge is indeed power.
The Process Of Introducing Technology To Our Lives
Now, we should look for a solution after understanding the lack of knowledge and awareness. That also involves two phases. The first one is the immediate solution which solves the problems that need to be solved urgently, and the second phase, which is the long-term solution.
Now, if we look at the immediate solution, that is awareness and education of the people living in rural areas. The customers who know can introduce the retail store owners to technology and it’s importance. If there is a retail store in your place, around 500-1000 people buy from that store. When you purchase something from that store, take 5 minutes and show the cashier how they can use Paytm, Easypaisa, or some other app and make payments online. Now, that’s the urgent solution.
The long-term solution involves:
- Proper awareness campaigns.
- We are educating people from rural areas.
- Introducing them to more manageable and efficient methods improves their shopping experience and saves time and money.
This might not seem to be a problem that has to be the priority, but it sure is worth your time, effort, and attention. In the coming years, you will look back and think about how quickly the world has changed. And developing countries may fall behind in technology and inventions. To prevent this, we all need to play our part.
Technology is not limited to the retail sector and is far more significant than often. If you need a good reason and the retail industry is not good, you can consider its essential role in connectivity, working remotely, and education. Overall, the retail sector enjoys the benefits of technology, but it fails to use it to its full potential. There is still room for improvement. We all are witnessing how technology is becoming the future. It is up to us whether we accept this fact sooner or later.