At Intel’s Retail Executive Conference last year, I spoke about the retail revolution and how retail growth is heating up across the world, with the APAC region leading the market, expected to account for 47% of the world’s consumer electronics sales by 2020. With over 60% of the world’s youth in Asia Pacific, millennials in this region are set to be the world’s biggest consumers of electronics.

As the largest growing section of society, retailers cannot afford to ignore the millennials. In fact, shopping experiences should cater to the unique preferences of this generation. One of the most important changes in retail strategies in the last decade is the move to digital. Owners of smartphones, the expectations of generation Y are very different from any other generation before. Brand conscious, they expect value for money and expect immediate results.  Retailers have to take all these into consideration these new technology-enabled consumer behaviour patterns, while creating seamless shopping journeys, focusing more on the online and mobile world than physical stores.

What are the key ingredients to this new retail revolution?

ONLINE RETAIL

Online Retail has become the norm over the last decade and it is vital for retailers to embrace this form of retail in every aspect of the retail value chain, from logistics to marketing. While physical stores will continue to exist, they will cease to hold the key position in strategies for Retail 3.0, giving way to an omnichannel experience with a high focus on online.  This mode of retail, open to every business irrespective of its size, scale and domain, allows brands to connect with customers regardless of their geographical position. Intel offers unique online solutions for its retailers, allowing them to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world.

MOBILE RETAIL

Digital technology is influencing 33% of in-store retail sales in the UK. It is this imperative for brands to invest in all facets of digital retail, including mobile technology. The fastest and easiest way to reach consumers, retailers can leverage mobile retail strategies to innovate and offers customers inimitable shopping journeys encompassing a rich, tactile experience that includes augmented reality among other unique experiences.

SOCIAL MEDIA IN RETAIL

A social media strategy is now an integral component of any retail strategy – allowing brands to promote products and engage with customers 24/7 regardless of their customers’ location. An excellent brand building exercise, social media also allows brands to build a community and gives a voice to customers, enabling them to share their experiences and spread the brand’s message. The scope of social media has expanded to include social data and more recently chatbots, which are allowing brands to engage directly with their customers and harvest user data for analytics.

EXPERIENCES IN RETAIL

From personalized shopping assistants and an ambiance of exclusivity to technology-enabled experiences driven by AR and VR, experiential retail is here to stay. Customers tend to spend more time in stores that offer such experiences, and thus brands have to build simple, unique and seamless consumer experiences to bridge the gap between curiosity and purchase, and drive sales. Intel’s Retail Experience Tool, is an excellent example of experiential retail – providing a hands-on experience of the products through gaming.

 

The revolution has already started and over the last year we’ve seen many changes in retail. Surviving in this new era of highly informed & connected customers isn’t easy, but brands can thrive in this new omnichannel retail world, by offering customers an exceptional retail environment that supports and builds on the existing physical and online retail worlds.

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