Low-Code Emerges as Key Enabler for Retail’s New Normal Journey
CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) firms have always recognized technology as an essential component for business growth but digitization is more important now in the aftermath of the pandemic which has severely impacted the supply chains. From what we buy to how, where and why we buy, consumer behaviour went through significant changes in 2020 and is evolving very fast.
An example of an organization that has successfully created a sustainable path for its operations is Mondelez, a multinational CPG company. To continually innovate and keep its front-liners engaged safely, Mondelez has adopted a low-code platform to boost agility and efficiency to develop, deploy, and manage custom retail execution applications.
Retailers like Britannia, Hersheys, Dabur, Estee Lauder Companies are creating paths to sustained value creation over long-term and have continued to outperform in 2020. These long-run winners were more resilient than their peers due to increased investments in building digital capabilities to enable performance and competitive advantage.
A Challenge Retailers Across the Globe are Facing
Generation of huge amounts of data, rapidly changing market conditions, fluctuating supply and demand levels, disruptive workplace changes, changing consumer behaviour — 2020 has put an onus on retailers to develop new kinds of digital tools and solutions quickly.
According to a study by McKinsey, 45 percent retailers identify the economic crisis and COVID-19 as the biggest challenge for 2021 and 30 percent say digital is going to be the biggest opportunity.
Retail brands need to shape strategies grasping trends that help them adopt faster and sustain the crisis that will continue to unfold in 2021. For the course of next year, retailers see digital as the biggest opportunity. To maximise impact amid a rapidly changing channel mix, retailers must find new ways to excite and engage each stakeholder. Retailers also need to implement initiatives to improve the working conditions throughout the supply chain. Some retailers are investing heavily (approximately $3.2 billion) in digital transformation and online-offline integrations to reduce operational costs such as rent and accelerate their digital strategy.
Retail’s New Normal is Digital
Digital adoption has soared during the pandemic, with many brands finally going online and embracing digital innovations like livestreaming, customer service chatbots and social shopping according to this Mckinsey study. Today, retailers need to face several digital transformation challenges, first of them being the need to become operationally efficient with the ultimate aim of growing business by leveraging new age digital enablers.
Machine learning is helping retailers in creating forecasting models that help them utilize external data sources and develop effective business forecasts. AI is helping online retail thrive in the new normal. AR and Chatbots are helping overcome challenges customers face while shopping online, streamline tasks and processes and sell more.
Loreal has launched virtual try-on services, one-to-one consultations, and live shopping to improve the at-home shopping experience.
In China and the US, innovations such as livestream, is helping brands including Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and Burberry bridge the gap between physical and digital by bringing human interaction to the digital shopping experience.
Low-code platforms are helping retailers deploy custom apps while utilizing aforementioned technologies 10 times faster than traditional coding, reducing time to market and the dependency on highly skilled developers.
From large retailers like Nestle, Colgate to smaller retailers, low-code method of development has helped meet the immediate need for new software and mobilization of field employees. Many of these may be simple use cases like COVID symptoms reporting by employees to complex use cases like backend integration with suppliers, user-friendly interface for remote teams to SAP ERPs, real-time inventory, order track-and-trace, vendor integration facilities, planogram apps, sales learning apps, and lots more. Some benefits that retailers can enjoy include instant deployment, real-time access to information, SSO integration, offline enabled, multilingual apps, and scalability.
Execution at the Retail Store Front
Although the past year has witnessed massive online shopping, studies show that shoppers will return to physical stores in the new retail normal because online shopping does not satisfy the consumer’s need for personal connection, social interaction and the desire to see and touch products.
The retailers who are adopting low-code platforms are able to test innovative retail execution ideas quickly in changing market conditions and with little risk. No matter where a retailer is on their digital transformation journey, using a low-code platform organizations can ensure safe shopping experience for customers as well as employees at retail outlets, attend to issues concerning their retail employees, build checklists for stores that need to be audited for health and safety, and keep normal operations running smoothly.
According to IDC, a global provider of market intelligence, about 500 million digital apps and services will be created by 2023. This is about the same number of apps built in the last 40 years. For retailers to ensure they meet this increased need for custom software, low-code offers the fastest pathway to profits.
Solving Retail Challenges with Low-Code Platform
In order to remain relevant in the future and get ahead in the retail game, low-code platforms and AI have been identified by Gartner as tools that can be used to their full capacities in the retail sector. By deploying DronaHQ’s low-code platform, CPG giant Mondelez is transforming its retail execution strategies by launching custom sales enablement applications that have doubled performance, received over 80 percent in adoption rates, producing apps within a span of 3 weeks and across global geographies — Latin America, China, New Zealand, India, North America.
Low-code development is enabling retail tech teams to create process automations using graphical interface, enabling those closest to the business to be involved in the solution development process and go to market with retail execution apps within weeks rather than months. Bringing forth game-changing speed and agility, low-code also acts as the middle ground where retailers can capitalize on their previous legacy investments such as ERPs, or CRMs or custom coded processes and databases with easy integrations.
In the current economic climate, innovative ways of working are critical and it is more critical than ever to modernize core legacy systems to fuel the next wave of digital tools. Embracing new approaches like low-code, businesses can revitalize core assets in shorter time and get most out of their investments as low-code gives a lasting foundation for creative app development.
Some savvy retailers are already developing strategies for low-code to launch frictionless operations in stores, in the offices, and in the production facilities. The faster that more retailers look at adopting low-code, the better they will be able to respond to today’s 21st century consumer.
Originally published at https://www.indianretailer.com on January 6, 2021.