From the first cash register in the 19th century to today’s online purchases and mobile payments, technological innovations and the ingenuity of store operators have consistently changed how retailers do business and consumers shop for products and services. Technology has increased efficiency and competition, and today it allows businesses to better serve customers and enables retailers to reach new markets.
As with the economy as a whole, the Covid-19 pandemic has presented new tests for the retail industry. Retailers of all sizes have been navigating around challenges as the pandemic response changed Americans’ daily lives. Reaching customers with a digital strategy powered by ecommerce platforms took on new urgency as many consumers shifted from in-person to online purchasing. At the same time, it is important that businesses do not lose sight of opportunities to reach even wider audiences by expanding global sales.
International ecommerce companies make it possible for retailers to take their business operations global and tap into demand for their products in other countries, especially in Asia. The growing demand from Chinese consumers is tremendous, and it’s important to have ecommerce platforms that lower traditional barriers that prevent companies from accessing the global marketplace, particularly with payments, logistics and marketing. These platforms make it easier for our businesses to sell abroad, compete more efficiently in the global economy and hopefully break their own sales records in the process.
Alibaba is no stranger to this space. In October on the NRF virtual program, the “Retail Leadership Series,” I’m excited to host Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group. We’ll be talking about the challenges and opportunities facing retailers today, and specifically how the Alibaba Group’s Tmall and Alibaba.com have created pathways for American retailers to reach consumers in Asia and other parts of the world. You can register for the Retail Leadership session here.
We hear every day about writing the “new normal” when it comes to the future of retail. Like many of our retail leaders, Michael and his team are highly focused on how the economy will continue to adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, and how retailers can see growth and opportunity through new technologies and platforms with expanded reach into the global marketplace.