Privacy-focused and retail innovations such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality will be pivotal in shaping the future of retail in Southeast Asia as more consumers are increasingly entrusting their personal data with retailers to create a hyperpersonalised shopping experience, according to VMware.
The VMware Digital Frontiers 3.0 Study revealed that 41% of Southeast Asian shoppers are not missing regular shopping in-store as much as they thought they would.
Findings show that across the region, 63% of consumers welcome the use of virtual technology in a consumer experience, such as simulating what an item looks like on them, or how an item will fit in the desired space.
Also, 64% of Southeast Asian shoppers said they would leave a website or application if they could not get their issues resolved there and then, through means such as a chatbot, live chat, telephone.
In Singapore, evolving consumer demands also highlight the need for businesses to build stronger digital capabilities to keep pace, as 43% of consumers haven’t missed in-store shopping and 58% welcome the use of virtual technology in their shopping experience.
Also, 67% of Singaporeans said they would leave a website or application if they could not get their issues resolved there and then.
Many brick-and-mortar stores in Southeast Asia are bearing the brunt of the pandemic as lockdown restrictions have pushed more shoppers online. While 61% of respondents in Southeast Asia are happy to engage with retailers digitally, 60% of them are prepared to switch to a competitor if a digital experience is not up to par.
With more than half of respondents (57%) expressing their excitement for digital services, harnessing next-generation technologies including cloud, artificial intelligence and modern applications will be key in enabling the retail industry to accelerate innovations and deliver a more holistic and secure retail experience to shoppers in Southeast Asia.
Also, Southeast Asia is also pivoting towards sustainable development, as consumers become increasingly eco-conscious and are making efforts to tap on digital technologies to become carbon neutral.
More than two in every five (43%) of Southeast Asian respondents are happy to pay a premium on goods and services that demonstrate commitment to being carbon neutral.
Also, 63% want to use more digital services to reduce their carbon footprint – for instance, by driving less to shops.
As Southeast Asia’s retail battleground goes virtual, consumers are placing higher trust in retail organisations and the digital offerings they are providing to tailor their shopping experiences.
However, only 36% of Southeast Asian respondents believe that retail organisations have given them assurance that their data and information is secure.
VMware cites key priorities that will further strengthen the transformation of Southeast Asia’s retail ecosystem — empowering retail organisations to build a multi-cloud and app future; enabling innovation and productivity for the region’s anywhere workforces and; intrinsic security for uninterrupted innovation.