Retail is rapidly changing. Even though it is now clear that brick and mortar is here to stay, the difficulty for brands to compete in a saturated omnichannel retail market has increased. With a huge number of shoppers still shopping offline (92 percent), any offline retailers that keep up with the pace of the industry can only benefit, picking up potential revenue and a good number of customers.
Some of the biggest changes that retailers are making to stay up to date with an evolving market involve technologies to help support business functions and increase customer insights. Non-traditional shopping experiences combined with omnichannel strategies are another method that is being explored as well. Below are some of the best ways for thriving in the era of e-Commerce.
Customer Insights through Affordable tech
Previously anyone other than retail giants couldn’t acquire customer data insights. Even then larger retail companies would be hesitant due to budget risks associated with such a decision. This is no longer the case, now everyone can gain insights about their customers thanks to several tech innovators that have been working on making different data technologies cheaper.
CEO and founder of Dor, Michael Brand commented on this saying, “Retailers with storefronts traditionally rely on sales data to help identify trends and predict customer behaviour, but this data only shows one piece of the overall health of their business. Think of it this way: if an e-commerce retailer opened an online business and didn’t install Google Analytics to track how well their site visitors were converting, we’d call them crazy. Many brick-and-mortar retailers, however, are missing out on collecting this same type of data that their online competitors track religiously.”
Local personalisation of everything from product offerings to store and service design is a massive part of winning in the brick and mortar game. This is something that big and small retailers have recognised and are currently trying to implement across their stores. The reason behind this is that generic products can be easily found online by customers, so when people walk into a store, people want to be surprised by something that they don’t usually find in their online shopping efforts.
Companies are evolving their strategy to ramp up the number of touchpoints that a customer has with a brand, as its been found that this increases the likelihood that they’ll choose to shop there again. Brand explains how many have struggled so far, “Many large legacy retailers built out a number of locations in the past 20-30 years that is now unsustainable, and have had trouble innovating in-store and online, making their service experience clunky and impersonal. Other large retailers who are more agile haven’t had this problem.”
The brick and mortar shopping experience is still enjoyed by many despite the claims that it is on its way out. In the next few years it will probably experience a lot of change but it would be wrong to say that it will be defunct or gone altogether.
Brand commented on this saying, “A lot of retail ‘survival’ can depend on company culture and leadership and how readily leadership can adapt to customer demand. We have plenty of hope for large chains who are willing to innovate and experiment. When you aren’t open to taking risks, you’re no longer serving your customers.”
The companies that are enthusiastic about the outcome of the future of the industry and can match this enthusiasm with innovation stand to create success in this ‘new retail’ landscape.