Since January, the retail market is slowing down, while e-commerce is growing at a double-digit growth rate. Due to security measures such as the lockdown and social distance, the traditional retail was hardly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For months, consumers got used to working from home, browse, and shop online. Since May, many governments are relaxing quarantine rules.
However, likely, some technologies and shopping experiences consumers have tried during this period will have permanent consequences for the industry. For instance, “buy now, pay later”, virtual fitting rooms, online customizations, and so on. Therefore, companies will have to adapt their businesses to this new reality and invest more and more on online shopping experiences. Digital is the only way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Buy now, pay later” retail revolution
Saying that the way we shop has changed in the past ten years would be an understatement. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change consumer shopping behavior, installment payment platforms are growing fast. Apps like QuadPay allows shoppers to buy products without having to pay hidden interest fees, unlike a typical credit card. The “buy now, pay later” model proves that consumers are thinking differently about their purchases. As a result, retailers need to adjust their experiences to stay relevant.
QuadPay splits customers’ orders into 4 installments paid over 6 weeks and the buying process is divided into 3 steps. On the first one, the client looks up the store he would like to transact at or enter a website address. Then, he should enter the amount of his purchase including taxes and shipping. And finally, swipe, dip or tap his QuadPay Visa card at any store, or use it online to complete purchases.
Recently, the Australian financial technology company Zip Co acquired the US-based QuadPay as part of a global expansion strategy. The all-scrip deal, which values QuadPay at approximately $400 million, will give Zip Co access to a retail market estimated to be worth US$5 trillion per year.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Fitting Rooms
Artificial intelligence is already part of our daily lives. From Apple’s assistant, Siri to Netflix’s series, and movie recommendations. However, fashion has remained somewhat resistant to this technology until the Covid-19 pandemic. After more or less 3 months of lockdown, stores all around the world are slowly reopening with social distancing rules and several restrictions for fitting rooms.
Combining fashion and technology, Zeekit is a mobile app that allows customers to virtually try on clothes. First, shoppers upload a full-body photograph of themselves, wearing a tank top and fitted shorts (women) or pants (men). Then, the app asks for height and body measurements. Finally, users use their image stored to see how it fits into their bodies and proceed with the purchase.
Another great thing about augmented reality apps like Zeekit is that they can help empower women. By allowing real women to see themselves in clothes, rather than just models, they can also help to spread the body positive movement.
Customization is the New Black
Founded in 2012, InStitchu is a made-to-measure suit brand. Besides offering customers perfectly fitting custom-tailored suits and shirts for the same price as products bought off the rack, the fast-growing startup marks a new type of retail experience. By choosing the fabric, color, composition, buttons, pockets, and a lot more, customers join the design journey of their garments.
According to OC&C Strategy Consultants, personalized services and goods will build a relationship with a new generation of customers. In times of pandemic and social distance, retailers can get closer to their clients through customization services. In addition to having an exclusive product, the consumer can also enjoy a shopping experience different from the traditional one.