DCA Digital Digest

DCA Digital Digest: Artificial Intelligence will increase retail competitiveness and sustain long-term growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has given way to challenges across industries and has brought some businesses to a standstill. Each industry is taking time to adjust and return to business and operate within new dynamics. The retail industry is one of the hardest hit sectors with physical outlets, shopping centres and malls closed to public or reopened with a string of constraints has taken its toll on revenues. Retailers were not prepared to make the sudden and swift changes for various reasons and had ill-prepared IT environments. Many were not equipped with online and e-commerce platforms which would be the most appropriate way to conduct business during a lockdown. It was e-commerce giants and local online platforms that upped their game and utilised the situation to their advantage. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was incorporated into these online platforms. Understanding behavioural patterns and playing it out accordingly. Going forward, AI will play a vital role in many areas within retail.


2. Digital marketplaces in Africa: Opportunities and challenges

Since the early 2010s, traditional retailers have invested in digital infrastructure to effectively engage users across multiple channels. In doing so, they have developed a single view of the customer. The adoption of this consumer-centred business model is a good starting point for a transition to the platform economy. In the years ahead, we expect many traditional retailers in Africa to go this route, as US-based firms such as Walmart have done. Retail organisations that are moving in this direction are either creating platforms themselves or developing capabilities and digital infrastructure for other platform businesses.


3. How to build a financial system that works for people and planet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, digital services – from telemedicine to remote work to online learning – have been a lifeline for the millions of people subjected to lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. Digital finance has been essential to facilitate many of these processes, enabling people to pay for goods and services, receive compensation for their work, access social-assistance payments, and secure financial support, such as bank loans, for their distressed businesses.




4. 5G roll-out in Africa may be slow, experts warn

The fifth technical standard for wireless networks, or 5G, promises more speed, less lag when connecting to the network and the ability to connect many devices to the internet without bogging it down.



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