The Direction Retail Today is Heading
First, pure-play eCommerce still works for some companies. For example, the top 20 UK online-only businesses saw a 23% jump in sales last year over 2016. However, one-time pure-play eCommerce companies continue to expand into the physical world. Finally, of course, traditional retailers spent the last decade integrating eCommerce.
Underlying the current mix of selling strategies, what does retail today require to succeed? When we look at successful companies, we see three common characteristics. It turns out, they all have to do with efficiently meeting customer expectations.
Frankly, you already know how important online selling is to retail today. Nearly all consumers use Google, Amazon, eCommerce websites and social media (or a combination) to shop. The big question managing those online channels. Successful retailers create engaging, informative content for all their online channels. They use the channels that work best for their products, and they give customers accurate and consistent stock availability and pricing information.
Successful retailers make the most of what they know about their customers. In turn, they provide a customer experience consumers expect from retail today. Specifically, customers feel loyal to brands that know them. These brands tailor promotions to suit customer shopping habits. Similarly, they may customize push notifications, allow customers to create personal wish lists, and honor loyalty programs across all their channels.
Finally, successful retailers automate. While that’s a big concept that covers a lot of functions, the proposition is simple. Automation increases efficiency and lowers costs, while improving customer experience. For example, removing administration steps to process sales and dispatch orders helps get the right product to the right customer faster. And technology continues to make automation possible up and down the supply chain.