Malaysia: Retail industry reshapes with hybrid cloud and AI to meet shifting consumer shopping preferences, study shows

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — The great reset in the global retail industry is firmly in place. After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry is fast reshaping itself with hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) to meet shifting consumer shopping and sustainability preferences.

Institute for Business Value (IBV), in association with the National Retail Federation, released their second global study which revealed rising consumer preferences for sustainability and shopping journeys splintered across multiple digital, physical, and mobile touchpoints.

Hybrid purchasing — which combines physical and digital channels in buying experiences — is on the rise, according to a new global study of over 19,000 surveyed customers, as shopping practices acquired out of need during the Covid-19 pandemic have become “routine”.

National Retail Federation vice-president (research development and industry analysis) Mark Mathews said in a press statement that this “hybrid” approach is a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour.

“While many surveyed consumers still place high value on the traditional in-store shopping experience, they also now expect the flexibility to build their own shopping journey — according to the behaviours prevalent to their age range, available tools and the product category they are looking to purchase,” Mathews said.

The study showed that sustainability and brand preferences have become increasingly important since 2020 with 62 per cent of respondents willing to change buying habits in order to reduce environmental impact, up from 57 per cent two years ago.

However, there is still a gap between intentions and actions due to the lack of information in the buying process, IBM Consumer Industries global managing director Luq Niazi said.

Niazi said their experience with clients showed that leading retail brands are continuing to rapidly transform operations, customer experience and supply chains with technologies like AI, hybrid cloud and block chain to help serve multiple customer preferences. — Bernama