Now or never for bricks-and-mortar retailers to embrace digital technologies

Under the COVID-19 pandemic-induced social distancing guidelines, bricks-and-mortar retailers are shifting gears to rapidly embrace digital technologies, says a report by GlobalData.

With increased competition from e-commerce, reduced foot traffic and low consumer confidence, the need to build digital capabilities is now or never for physical retail stores.

“As stores began to reopen doors, retailers are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR) to offer hygiene-centric shopping experiences to customers with ‘contactless retail’ and increase their confidence to shop during the COVID-19 pandemic” explains Venkata Naveen, Analyst at GlobalData.

Tech-enabled applications like footfall analytics have suddenly seen an uptick at point-of-sale for retailers.

For example, are counting the total number of shoppers entering and exiting the store using cameras and IoT-enabled people counters. When occupancy reaches a certain level staff are alerted to either open additional checkouts or pause admission.

Systems have many other benefits which will continue if social distancing requirements end. The real-time and saved data can be used to

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