Who’s never shopped online, raise your hand!! Unsurprisingly, no hands in the air. That’s because technology nowadays makes everything so convenient. Complex researches that use to take months to carry out can now be done in a bat of an eyelid, as often as one likes, and accurately from reliable primary sources of information. This new ‘free access to knowledge’ phenomenon is taking place on a global scale, and it’s causing some exciting changes in the industries. Businesses can choose to take advantage of the new playing field to satisfy the customers by optimizing business operations to be ready to sell and transport at any given time, on demand, and synchronize services to the enormous pool of customer information such as membership status, purchase history, and shipping addresses.
Observing the change in consumer behavior today, simple changes are taking place such as Showrooming, where shoppers visit retail stores to check out the products they want to buy physically, it be color, size, style, and various other attributes, and then, conversely, purchase the finalized product online, instead, as it offers better promotions and more appealing, and a lot of times cheaper than retail sources.
The eMarketer Report estimated that online trading will reach 1.6 billion dollars worldwide for 2015 and will rise to 1.9 billion dollars in 2016, while retail stores, particularly in the US, will see a rather small increase. Although online venues are satisfying the majority of customers in terms of product research, retailers believes being able to physically engage with the actual product holds a large enough value to keep their market going, thus there is still hope both on and off line markets collaborating a win-win for everyone. The following are 5 trends to take place continually throughout 2020:
- Instead of competing with retailers, showrooms will become a marketing venue for online businesses, as well. Showrooms will serve exhibition purposes to satisfy physical engagement needs where customers get their hands on the products while sensors send associated online purchasing information to their smart phones. Online purchases can be delivered straight to the desired preregistered shipping addresses while consumer behavior data can be tracked along with online purchasing information. One Click – as oppose to getting in line, paying, signing, (all a long wait) and carrying the item around for the rest of the day risking it being stolen. And that’s just one item, let alone shopping for, say, Xmas from numerous venders across town.
- Analysis will be an exceedingly common practice for retailers in 2020. Offline retailers, too, will be able to adopt Smart Tools or intelligent devices for qualitative analysis. Such tools evaluate customer interest patterns in the store as products are lifted or touched to allocate popular items to higher exposure. Smart Shelves utilize sensors to assess customer engagement frequency for items and the conversion rate, or the associated probability of the items actually being purchased, to determine promotion to display, discounts and ads on Video consoles as customers pass by. Totting it up, customer engagement hinged on data analysis can increases sales as practical applications are applied systemically and, most importantly, in real time. Lord & Taylor already such smart tools in place, allowing real time interactive shopping experience to customers.
- Payment for goods and services via mobile phones will be ubiquitous in 2020. Not only will online transactions go through smart devices that communicates as smart phones do, internet-equipped devices will streamline online payments, as well, at least that’s what the retail stores want to happen. One example of smoothing customer payments is Starbucks Coffee with a mobile application that allows customers to order online, browse daily promotions, and pay through their iPhone before actually arriving at the actual coffee shop.
- Retailers to take advantage of Sensory Technology that recognizes customer emotions. Emotient, or emotion-aware computing technology, can analyze the feelings of the people through the emotion on their faces and allow them to identify positive or negative customer reactions to products and services, thus quickly modifying promotions and respond to customer needs accordingly. This technological process can also be applied for other human senses such as pictures, taste, smell, and sounds in the store. Besides satisfying customers, it also creates good first impressions and savory brand experiences.
- Technology will become the new ultimate assistant as routine processes and tasks get automated, including even self-services and self-education for learning the details, and self-navigation walks to various spots inside the shop. With routine chores being automated staff will be able to attend to more complex functions such as closing deals and developing good relationships with customers. The latter, though, perhaps could be taken over by the smart piece, too, as customers become more and more proficient with circumnavigating the matrix.
Aside from the 5 retail sector trends above, supply chain businesses are also shifting to accommodate the new technological platforms. Uber, for instance, the online taxi service App, announced recently that it is planning to expand UberRush’s 1-hour delivery services for online purchased products, perceivably a horizontal advancement from transporting into the arena of retailing and logistics services. Indeed, a sphere of intense competition with players like Amazon, Google and other service providers that have been in operation for a long time.
Nevertheless, there are signs for a retail comeback boom again as some online merchants use retail shops to accommodate physical experiences with the actual product before making the online click. Good signs are there as both venues seem to be able satisfy niche the other cannot quench. It still takes two to tango for 21st century retailers, it seems.
Compile By BLOG.SCGLogistics
References and Photos By theverge.com, forbes.com, mashable.com, static.pexels.com, uber.com