The accelerated growth in technology has profoundly influenced the retail industry. Digital commerce with its myriad tools and technologies have revolutionized the consumer world. The whole word is made available on a single click, empowering retailers to leverage technology and keep their solutions close to customers. Easily available and readily optimized to provide a spiffy retail experience. Digital transformation plays a crucial role in determining the success of your retail business. Albeit, most businesses fail to understand what it means and fall for a loose concoct formulated around digital upgradation.
Revolutionary business models are created by retail stores to commercialize their merchandise. Forcing retail business to adopt a customer first strategy. The dynamic nature of the digital world demands more than a quotidian experience. The time has way passed that a retail business shifts their focus to an omnichannel strategy. The pervasive nature of innovative technologies demands an agile and adaptive strategy. One that closely resonates with the customer.
The typical question is, how can a brand offer a consistent experience across multiple digital channels?
When smart technologies enabled with cognitive systems started to offer solutions highly based on data, virtual stores started to invest and follow the trend (make data-driven decisions). That’s one good reason why the products you add to your wish list start to follow you with a 40% discount.
At times the online prices are well discounted than what’s displayed in the nearby brick and mortar business establishment. Multiple strategies are deployed by retail stores, rushed and implemented to inspire the customers to enter into a buyer’s journey. With digital commerce more or less it’s the deal and the convenience. Why drive to the neighbourhood when you can get it delivered at your doorstep.
E-commerce – Buy Online – It’s Convenient than to Stroll Across the Street
Electronic commerce has radically influenced the retail industry. The information era has forced business to not only remain close to customers but also to be transparent with their solutions. The high transparency enables businesses to make informed decisions. Contrary to embark a journey based on intrusions. With online commerce, people will be able to compare the products, the product features, find the best deal, even run down through customer reviews, etc and then make a decision rather walk into brick and mortar business and fall for the store owners sale pitch.
Customer’s buy online because it’s convenient to fall on the couch and place an order online.
All Options – A Fingertip Away
Huge collection! A fingertip away. For most shopaholics, electronic commerce is a safe haven. A pool of millennials scavenges the virtual realm in search of lucrative deals and offers. With digital commerce, you can buy products while you are travelling or just place an order for your groceries when you are at the transit station and get it delivered when you reach home. Convenience, people want their life to be simple.
Time and Timing
People don’t have time, they are in a sprint, trying to rush through their days. There are numerous alternatives available and a lot more to explore. The human brain may not be able to comprehend all the solution and options explored. At the same time, the cognitive system will run in the background. Analyzing every bits and piece of data, creating a predictive model, understanding the customers’ interest and preference. Slowly advancing and getting ready to trigger campaigns when the customer’s interests are at its zenith. Personalized insight-driven campaigns are created to hit the customers, giving a context to what they are searching for.
Challenges with Predictive Analytics
The buyer’s journey has become too complex. The huge amount of information forces the customer to revisit their decision at multiple stages of the customer journey. In most cases, the information is accessed from multiple devices, leading to discrepancies. Only a partial data is made available to the analytics system.
Omnichannel Retail Marketing
Your customers are looking for a holistic experience. As a business entity, you need to make sure that a seamless experience is made possible across your online/ offline presence. The cutthroat marketing strategies have gravely influenced how people make purchase decisions. One good example will be highlighted in the apparel industry. Where the customer will visit a physical store, try the outfits and then hop online and place the order. The concept of BOPUS (Buy online, Pick Up in Store) has mused a lot of retail entrepreneurs. Let not these challenges constrain you from propelling your business, it’s better you proactively design an omnichannel marketing strategy to entice your customers.
In future, business establishments should construct a data-driven business model that adds value to customers all along the buyer’s journey. Integrating data across multiple touch points will help muster deeper customer insights.
Internet of Things to Offer a Seamless Customer Experience
When businesses started to proffer significant importance to customer experience it becomes vividly clear that smart technology could help deliver a viable solution. Retail businesses should look forward to offering a holistic strategy which encompasses their overall business model.
Even in the midst of technology outburst, there are avid shopaholics who still prefer the good old ways. To feel/ experience the product in real time and then make a purchase decision. It’s not that the digital revolution is going to force all the brick and mortar business to shut down, rather the revolution has pushed the retail industry to refine traditional strategies.
Internet of things has immense implications in the retail industry. IoT could help a retail business to strengthen customer loyalty, manage inventory, deliver a personalized experience, etc. Brands are widely using IoT for customer service. With increasing competition and a plethora of options available a brand needs to maintain a close relationship with the customers. Constantly reminding the customer that the solution is available at a fingertip away.
Stats published by Global Market Insights points that IoT in Retail Market size was valued at over USD 9 billion in 2016 and will grow at more than 19% CAGR estimation from 2017 to 2024.
Immersive Marketing – AR and VR
The innovative use of technology help businesses delivers a richer shopping experience to customers. Immersive marketing strategies enable virtual nomads to try different products in the virtual trial rooms before they make a purchase. Modern technology enhances a retail business to integrate layers of digital interactivity, enabling the virtual world to closely operate with the real world giving meaning to every moment.
Brands have taken initiatives to accommodate innovative technologies that deliver an exotic customer experience. Experiential retail technology will revolutionize the retail industry opening a new corridor for customers to engage with a brand and make informed purchase decisions. Technology enabled active shopping experience could enthral customers to seamlessly move down the buyer’s journey.
Parting Note:- Modern consumer world demands a highly interlinked marketing strategy. Businesses need to create a strong relationship with their customers. Brands need to be consistent with what they offer in the virtual space and what is displayed in a physical store. When ecommerce reduces the virtual shopping experience to few clicks the brick and mortar business model gives savvy shoppers an opportunity to explore the product make a purchase decision. As a retail business owner make sure that you have a strategy set aside to accommodate the customers expectation in both the virtual and physical world.
A dreamer with a penchant for outdoor running, content creation is one of Nishant‘s forte. He thrives in challenging environments and is adroit in inbound marketing. His technical education and experience have enabled him to turn creative thoughts into written reality. You can follow him on: LinkedIn | Twitter