Gopal Asthana CEO,
Tata CLiQ

The retail sector is undergoing a major transformation, driven by continued technological advancements, rapid digitalisation and ever-evolving customer expectations. Retailers are leveraging next-generation technology solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) and internet of things (IoT) to enhance their business efficiency and improve customer engagement. Industry leaders share their views on the key digital trends, implementation challenges, status of metaverse and the future outlook…

What key technology trends are dominating the retail sector? What ICT solutions are adopted by your organisation?

The retail sector is witnessing a transformative shift as a result of various technological trends aimed at improving efficiency and enhancing customer engagement. One of the key trends is AI, which is playing a key role in enabling businesses to make in­for­med pricing decisions, forecast demand more accurately and optimise product pla­cements both online and in-store. Addit­io­nally, the adoption of AI enhances customer experiences through features such as rapid self-checkout and omnichannel services such as buy online, pick up in-store, or re­turn to store. While social shopping remai­ns an emerging trend, it has the potential for growth in the future.

How are next-generation technologies such as AR/VR and IoT transforming the retail space? What is the status of metaverse adoption in the industry?

Technologies such as AR, VR and IoT are transforming the retail and e-commerce industries. AR/VR finds application across various sectors, allowing customers to virtually try on products such as make-up and sunglasses or even visualise furniture in their living spaces. At retail stores, innovations such as the “magic mirror” allow for virtual try-on experiences. In addition, IoT enhances inventory management and per­sonalised customer interactions, ushering in a new era of retail convenience.

As for the metaverse, although the co­ncept initially carried a lot of promise for retailers, its adoption has been slow and may also lose its relevance.

What are the main challenges while deploying new-age technologies? How do you plan to address these?

It is challenging to potentially build and deploy all the things a company wants to do; hence, it is important to prioritise. At Tata CLiQ, we believe in focused prioritisation. We identify the right bets where the impact versus effort ratio is high and deploy new-age tech solutions accordingly. We ensure that we take strategic bets that are aligned with our business objectives.

Which three digital trends will reshape the sector going forward?

Looking ahead, three key digital trends that will transform the retail sector are AI, AR and the continued evolution of customer experiences through enhanced personalisation and engagement strategies. AI’s predictive capabilities and data-driven insights will revolutionise decision-making and customer interactions, while AR will provide immersive shopping experiences. These trends collectively hold the potential to redefine how retailers engage with consumers and operate in the market.

“The retail sector is witnessinga transformative shift, withtechnology enabling businessesto make informed pricing decisions, forecast demand accurately and optimise product placements both onlineand in-store.”Gopal Asthana