When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Sounds anonymous and it is! So, where are the retailers heading when the going gets tough? Are they heading for ecommerce, omnichannel or sticking to their physical stores and praying for a turnaround in footfall numbers?
Tricky questions…but they need to be answered.
It’s common in conversations with retailers today seeking out a different approach in-store. Some are trying to bring the diverse direct customer connect points under a unified system, which in other words is “Omnichannel’’. Others are trying to rejuvenate the store by elevating in-store technology.
“Defragmented channels of shopping are out-of-vogue. Agile platforms and solutions providing multichannel personalized shopping journey are in-demand.”
A wholesome solution will be covering all of the retailer’s bases. Be it, online, mobile and in-store channels and at the same also capture and accordingly act upon the data gathered from start to the last stage of purchase. Nevertheless, the store associate is equally challenged in delivering superior customer service. In-store technology should equip the store associate to provide personalized customer engagement (Learn how our in-store experience wooed Millennial Melanie).
“Now is the best time to put the customer and the store associate face-to-face using digital touch points…it is like going from best to even better.”
The fear of extinction makes retailers rethink their plan of action. Always the focus has been on acceleration of growth, strengthening the business and more so, on the simplification of operations. Of late, retailers want to make a place where they make strategic investments on their brand. It is wise to do so rather than playing catch up everywhere.
The penultimate goal is to create an elevated customer-centric expectation of personalized experience.
This is not child’s play that is easily said and done. Getting the right technologies in place requires a multistep process:
- Mapping customer journey to recognize their interests and shopping behaviour
- Evaluating your retail business capabilities which enable to serve customers – personalized shopping experience
- Differentiate these capabilities with the required customer engagement model to know the gaps in in-store technology
- Develop and deliver personalization capabilities to customers
- Embrace a digital transformation strategy
According to NRF, online sales during the 2015 holiday season jumped 9 percent over the previous year whereas, the International Council of Shopping Centers concluded 91 percent of holiday shoppers still made a purchase in a store.
“Build shopper intimacy across DIGITAL touchpoints, if you want to increase customer conversion rates. The question is: Where to FOCUS? Physical store or online stores”
2015 brought in a wave of tectonic changes in the retail industry that continues to shape its future course of action. But the underlying point is this; all these changes are driven by technology. You shall be differentiated, if you do it.
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