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  Nigerian retail industry is a budding one. The truth is that the retail industry in Nigeria is yet to tap into the burgeoning opportunities its contemporaries in the West, Asia, and South Africa have. This is not to say that the retail industry in Nigeria isn’t doing much. However, there is still a lot of miles to be covered. Nigeria is blessed with giant indigenous retail companies such as Addide, Citydia, Ebeano, Shoprite, Spar and so many others. If there’s any industry that should evolve and tech up, I believe it is the retail industry.
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The pandemic has shaped consumer behaviour, and millions of consumers are more than ever before shifting the way they prefer to transact with businesses and retail. With the buzz of customer experience (CX), leading businesses are rethinking new approaches towards customers experience and satisfaction. In this article, I opined that tech will define the narrative in the retail industry in the coming years. I further narrate three tech trends, retail companies in Nigeria should adopt to accomplish cutting-edge technological delivery and as well boost their growth.
  1. Cashless, Contactless Transactions.
Nigerian retail giants must understand that the future of buying and selling is contactless and cashless. They must create avenues where customers can have the opportunity to pay anytime, from anywhere. This is one of the hallmarks of the 21st century retail tech. In a study conducted by Financial IT, 79% of consumers would like to carry on with this system even when the pandemic ends. In post-pandemic times, fewer customers use cash in their transactions and opt to use their mobile banking, credit card, and even Buy Now, Pay Later solutions. Although, it might take some time before it becomes commonplace, another contactless and cashless model is that retail companies will have cashier-less stores.  The major objective of this rising trend is how it protects minimal disruptions from phone calls in-store, and the ability to avoid queues when buying something. It is anticipated that more of these contactless options in retail will be made more available in the years to come. With the rising trends of developing tech-saturated startups, if existing retail companies do not skill up their facilities, they might have themselves to blame in time to come. The truth is, a time might come when consumers might want to go cashless and not encounter the inconveniences of carrying cash about, but might opt for punching in PINs. 
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  1. Modern Commerce Platforms.
Various modern commercial platforms have experienced technological innovation in recent years. These modern commercial or transactional platforms are basically to ease customers’ needs. One of such platforms is the point of sale (POS) system. Although, several retail stores are operating POS, however, many are yet to go full scale. With POS, retail employees can carry out automatic emailing of receipts or text messages for the customer’s copy. On the other hand, aside from offering customer service, there are software retail companies in Nigeria can use which enables better, simplified collaboration through group chats and in-app messaging, and automatic notifications for staff when a shift is approaching, leading to improved accountability. Another example is the use of virtual try-on. Its use enables customers to make confident purchase decisions, which leads to an increase in sales and diminished rates of return. Further, testing is also done through virtual try-on, enabling companies to put more thought into their manufacturing processes. The insight from this platform also advances their efforts in sustainability, helping them be more conscious of how money and time are saved. 
  1. Enhanced Security Measures
Finally, retailers in Nigeria must capitalise on tech to build strong and viable security, especially in the age of increased cybercrime and shelve theft. There are a plethora of security alternatives for keeping a great deal of data about customers. Security solutions, too, such as improved IT network security and CCTV systems, are available, protecting establishments from vulnerability.  For individual consumers, two-factor authentication especially on KYC platforms can be secured during transactions, and they are already standards moving forward. However, this won’t be enough. The goal of tech nowadays is to enable data storage online without it being too much of a risk and without the need for such measures.  Featured image source: VoxAfrica
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This article was first published on 24th February 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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