A leading digital commerce platform is responding to needs retailers will have both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with Chain Store Age, Arpan Podduturi, director of product at Shopify, explained how the company is attempting to aid retailers struggling with sudden surges in online demand as a result of COVID-19.
“Retail is obviously hurting,” said Podduturi. “Shopify wants to help retailers transition their sales mix from offline to online. With local delivery and curbside pickup, even in this tough environment you can maintain traffic and keep making sales.”
According to Podduturi, retailers are using their stores in different ways now.
“Retailers are testing in-store appointments,” he said. “Using clienteling, they are making store associates outbound marketers to continue to drive traffic to the store, with social distancing. They are testing pickup and delivery. Some retailers are now using store associates as delivery personnel.”
Podduturi also looked ahead to possibilities of the post-pandemic “new normal” retail landscape.
“New retail will be hard to predict,” said Podduturi. “The trend toward contactless shopping and checkout will accelerate. We will see retail stores look more like fulfillment centers for local delivery and ship-from-store services.”
To support store-based omnichannel delivery, Podduturi said retailers will need to have access to inventory across stores and get items to customers quickly and cheaply. He also predicted an increase in outbound marketing from stores.
“There may not be as much traffic in stores, which will give associates more time to connect with customers digitally in the store. Associates might conduct omnichannel personal shopping via Facetime.”
As part of its effort to adapt to the new retail environment, Shopify is launching an upgraded version of Shopify POS, which is included with all Shopify plans. Brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage Shopify POS Pro, an advanced set of tools built specifically for retail stores.
“Shopify POS has been designed specifically for omnichannel retailers with stores,” explained Podduturi. “Omnichannel features are baked in. Users can search across all locations for inventory, including stores. Associates can view the omnichannel information and shopping history of in-store shoppers. It also features omnichannel analytics.”