By March 2020, as the world began to experience the impact of the pandemic, the retail industry took a disproportionately big hit. An IDC report projected that COVID-19 has halved the growth estimates for 20201.
Amidst the chaos, one clear trend emerged: The increased role of technology in driving growth in the retail industry.
One of the key technologies that enabled this rapid transition was Robotic Process Automation (RPA). From distributed order management, supply chain automation to HR operations, RPA helped retailers quickly and cost-effectively automate repetitive yet critical tasks in the business.
Today, a year later, with widespread vaccination efforts, brick-and-mortar retail is expected to make a cautious comeback. One of the key focus areas for retailers is to ensure a safe and new in-store experience. Over 85% of retailers believe that in-store experience would be “important to their reopening success.”2
RPA has the potential to play a significant role in that transition too.
Even before the pandemic, market-leading retailers had begun their omnichannel efforts like multi-channel presence, seamless in-store experience, multiple delivery options, etc. Today, even the laggards realize the importance of an omnichannel strategy. In the post-pandemic world, customers demand a seamless and continuous experience across various channels.
For instance, shoppers want to browse and order online and pick it up at the curbside. Or they would like to come to the store to try a product but are willing to wait for it to be delivered home. RPA can enable this and more. You can use bots to:
Merchandising has always played an essential role in maximizing sales in a retail store. With restrictions on the number of customers inside a store, social distancing norms, etc., merchandising has grown to play a more significant role. Dynamic display, shuffling products, and optimizing visual merchandising are necessary today.
RPA can help by:
Trust is an invaluable asset during these stressful times, and customers expect retailers to keep the shoppers and their employees safe. From thermal scanners to no-contact pickup and delivery, retailers already have many physical safety protocols in place. RPA can augment this by:
This is just the beginning of what Robotic Process Automation can do for the retail industry. By combining RPA with analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, retailers can gain significant value from their digital transformation initiatives. This is especially critical to their competitive advantage in the post-COVID era. At EdgeVerve, we have helped retailers worldwide implement purpose-led RPA applications to improve cost and operational efficiency through our automation platform, AssistEdge.
Learn more about the transformation that RPA can bring in retail.