Online retail has come far, from its poor days of having just about only Amazon and eBay in its kitty. Today a vast expanse of brick-and–mortar shops are giving way to a more synchronized avatar of the mouse-and-webpage.
Implementation of technology within the retail space has shaped how consumers interact with brands. Today, consumers have become increasingly savvy. They are evolving and they want evolved shopping experiences.
Smart retailers understand that deciphering shoppers’ behaviour is instrumental for unified success. They have realized over the years that companies with the highest customer experience typically grow at more than double the rate of their competitors.
They are creating exclusive, personalized experiences for customers, sending target specific messages, demonstrating their personal commitment, showing passion and creativity, showcasing the value of their offerings and much more.
The foundation for this revamp in customer experience lies in the attempt to utilize a massive amount of data that is easily available to retailers, benefiting both them and their customers.
Here are a few ways in which online retailers are doing their bit to disrupt the traditional means of business:
Personalization in retail has been around for years now, yet, the tactics retailers once used to speak directly to customers have lived beyond their shelf-life. A one-size-fits-all consumer outreach strategy is quickly becoming obsolete especially since more data allows brands to offer increasingly personalized experiences.
Personalization is no longer just for big conglomerates, trying to cash into the hype. Smaller retailers can take advantage of this trend through targeting users (from trawling through purchase histories) with content tailored to their preferences, and using location-based technology such as beacons to push personalized offers to customers’ portable devices.
This helps in tapping into the core of consumer psyche and leaving pertinent messages there.
The Prominence of 24-hr Delivery
Free shipping has gone beyond the status of an optional luxury; it’s a requirement in today’s day and age. It is a competitive necessary and while costs are associated with it, not having it as a part of your retail services means losing out.
The newest kid on the block is speed. Consumers might not want to actually make the trip to physical locations, but they still want the instant gratification – they want their products to be delivered in a jiffy. Often, immediate demands crop up owing to urgency of requirement.
The best way to accommodate this is through same-day shipping and subsequent delivery. In spite of the burgeoning issues on implementing same day shipping, the practicality of it is being inspected minutely, especially since it’s obvious that shoppers’ demand for lightning-fast delivery is here to stay.
Psychological studies show optimizing a company’s free shipping threshold works because it plays on consumer psychology. As a result, retailers are drawing up new plans to meet this demand. What is popular with customers is, after all, good for business.
Omnichannel: The Next Big Thing
Omnichannel is now the standard, with retailers investing in their Omnichannel strategies that are growing by leaps and bounds, in terms of revenue and exposure.
In the upcoming years, retailers worldwide would be seen pushing these strategies further than ever before, in the pursuit of – essentially – a seamless shopping experience.
The heavy usage of Snapchat and Instagram by retailers hold testament of the importance of congregating multiple channels to funnel out a singular, mass-targeted message. In fact, the number of retail-centric apps are steadily increasing, and we can expect merchants to leverage them to stay competitive.
Today, aside from shopping across multiple channels (i.e., e-commerce, mobile, social alongside brick-and-mortar), consumers are demanding for special concessions and tailor-made preferences. To supplement these, more retailers are relying on apps and third-party solutions, giving rise to an interconnected world of retail.
Although these trends are on a blazing trail with consumers requirements, true implementation can only be successful if the retailers, who haven’t inculcated the above trends, open up their minds to the changing times.
In the coming years we can expect to see further trends that would shape the market for good. With such positive occurrences increasing, one can safely say that retailers are set to see a radicalising time ahead and to ride that wave is the only feasible option left.