As Southeast Asia’s retail battleground goes virtual, consumers are placing higher trust in retailers and the digital offerings they are providing to tailor shopping experiences.

Fifty-three percent of them are comfortable and excited to provide retailers access to completely accurate data about their daily lives for an improved experience and more relevant offers.

More than two-thirds (68%) are also keen on the indefinite use of remote, virtual interactions with retailers, rather than in-store experiences.

Additionally, they (63%) welcome the use of virtual technology in the consumer experience, such as using it to simulate how an item looks on them or how a product will fit in the desired space.

These findings are part of the Digital Frontiers 3.0 Study by cloud computing and virtualisation technology company VMware. The study surveyed the behaviours, preferences and attitudes towards digital services and experiences of consumers globally between November and December last year.

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Despite being happy to engage with retailers digitally, 60% of Southeast Asian consumers will switch to a competitor if a digital experience is not up to par.

They would leave a retailer’s website or application if they cannot get their issues resolved there and then (64%), or if the retailer cannot offer next-day delivery (41%).  

The study also reveals that only 36% of Southeast Asian respondents believe retailers have assured them that their data and information is secure. This highlights an urgent need for retail organisations in the region to build greater consumer trust by establishing transparency with consumers and building up a zero-trust approach to security to better safeguard end-users’ data from bad actors.

Besides that, Southeast Asian consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious.

Nearly half (43%) of them are happy to pay a premium on goods and services that demonstrate commitment to being carbon neutral. At least one in two (55%) will also stop engaging with or purchasing from brands that do not publicly share their ethical policies.

To address the above-mentioned customer demands, VMware advises retailers in the region to unlock a multi-cloud future with app-driven innovations in a consistent and more secure environment that enables continuous innovation.

They should also take an intrinsic approach to enterprise security. This will provide an additional layer of robust protection for retail operations and shoppers’ personal data to fast-track business innovation and resilience.

“Businesses in Southeast Asia are now facing their ‘sink or swim’ moment of leveraging cutting-edge innovations such as cloud and modern apps to redefine how they connect with customers digitally or risk losing them to a competitor,” says Sanjay K. Deshmukh, vice president and managing director, Southeast Asia and Korea, VMware.

He adds: “Apart from making sure that they are delivering hyper-personalised, seamless digital services, retail organisations now also have to focus on bridging the gaps in their offline and online operations and delivering a superior omnichannel experience to stay competitive in the digital economy ahead.”

“At VMware, we are committed to helping retail organisations modernise and strengthen their digital infrastructure so they can unlock new, revolutionary shopping experiences for consumers,” he concludes.

VMware retail digital transformation infographic
Infographic: VMware

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