The retail industry is in the midst of a digital revolution and it is time for retailers to think beyond the established dimensions of the physical and digital space to connect with the customers. Consumers today are becoming far more cognisant, and product choices are thriving rapidly.
The industry has thus evolved to furnish tailor-made solutions and retailers are persistently striving to provide an omniscient experience to their customers.
Transformation of the retail business model
The spread of digital technologies has empowered customers, through access to information anytime and anywhere.
Consequently, the power in the retailer-consumer relationship has seen a tilt towards the consumers who have a voice that is often very loud and powerful.
Retailers are engaging in various facets and strategies to holistically engage their consumers. Businesses no longer have the liberty to choose between the physical and the digital platform. The consumer expects their retailers to provide them with an omniscient shopping experience across Omni-channels. Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks allows its customers to order and pay for their coffee well before entering the store through their mobile app. The customer can choose the nearest store and place their order. More and more companies are now embracing and adapting to Omni-channel retail.
Retailers have also begun to change a dull retail shopping trip into an interactive, cheerful experience. Grabbing the attention of today’s shopper is challenging in a “brick-and-mortar-store”. Retailers use the amalgamation of sound, ambience, emotion and activity in-store to get a customer interested in the merchandise. The IKEA Facebook fan sleepover is a classic example of retailainment. Not only was this a great PR stunt but it was also a brilliant way to get people to test the product.

Retail Transformation

As the concept of shopping diversifies beyond the realms of just purchasing a product, retailers are also working towards providing their customers with a unique and personalised shopping experience. Retailers are using technologies like Bluetooth beacons, AI and VR to enhance and customise the shopping experience.

Retail giant Macy’s implemented the beacon technology to boost their sales. They used the technology to recognise consumers as they enter the store and send them location-specific deals, discounts, recommendations, and rewards. Macy’s shopBeacon also delivers department-specific offers throughout the store.

The market would also see a paradigm shift in payment methods. Consumers prefer an easy frictionless payment option and retailers would need to catch up to this soon. Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology allows consumers to do just that. Consumers can walk into the store, take what they need and just leave without having to stand in long queues for billing. Amazon will automatically charge the user’s account and send a receipt via the app.

The world of retail is undergoing a radical change in terms of innovation and technologies. Retailers will have to be more agile than ever and understand their consumers to deliver them with a ubiquitous experience.

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Source:

  1. PwC
  2. iQmetrix
  3. Salesforce blog

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.