A Retail Revival: Updated
2020 has seen a culture shift in the way that we shop. As e-commerce sales soared during lockdown, it’s time to shift our attention to the next retail revival.
The growth of e-commerce has been steady in recent years, however, in 2020 the UK saw a staggering increase due to lockdown. In March it was reported that almost a quarter of all retail sales were made online. [Source]
Instead of seeing this as the end of the high street, this can be the start of a retail revival to revitalise the way we shop. The change allows retailers to try new ways of connecting with their customers and see progress in new ways. Consumer demands have increased with high expectation, and retailers must keep up with the times.
Personalisation and a range of delivery options are just some paths retailers can take to provide customers with a memorable shopping experience. Although it seems as if retailers need to step away from digital aspects to thrive on their own, implementing a technological factor will help to provide a boost.
DON’T DISMISS BRICK AND MORTAR JUST YET!
Primark went from £650m to nothing once stores were forced to close should be a reminder to consider alternatives – that said, consumers still rely on brick and mortar stores. Upon reopening, however, thousands of loyal customers queued up to shop in-store once again.
Additionally, online shopping and physical stores can work together to further boost businesses. Click and collect is becoming an increasingly popular option and is predicted to grow by 45.8% by 2023. This shows how the online and in-store can collaborate and provide a better experience for consumers.
It is still apparent that customers demand real-time engagement and satisfaction. They want choice, but only if it is relevant and tailored to them personally. In 2019, a study showed that 72% of customers would only engage with retailers through personalised communication. A further 90% were happy to give their data if they received better prices or recommendations. [Source]
Advanced technologies keep track of what a customer is engaging with, what they purchase and their interactions with your brand. This will help retailers understand precisely what it is that their customers desire, and give it to them through utilising predictive technology.
Men’s retailers Thomas Pink shared how they used personalisation to reclaim their image and brand after being in business for over 30 years. In an article written for Marketing Week, CEO and President Christopher Zanardi-Landi told them that “one of the most important things that is happening in our world right now, of course, is everything around customisation…From a technology point of view, [there is an opportunity] to take a customer through that journey.”
BRING BACK THE IN-STORE ‘EXPERIENCE.’
Despite Deloitte’s report stating that 90% of customers use their phones when shopping. According to Think With Google more than 80% of shoppers use their mobile devices to research purchases they’re about to make in-store, and a quarter of those even said they have changed their mind while standing in line just by looking up details!
Retailers are realising that improving their in-store experience with their own mobile initiatives is essential if they want to be considered as top of the scale. For example, British chain, M&S are showcasing ‘browse and order hubs’ that allow shoppers to browse the store catalogue or scan barcodes to explore product information. Customers have the opportunity to order on the device and collect at a later date or have the product delivered to their home. They even have card payment machines so you can purchase there and then!
Involving the option to access information through a mobile in-store experience will encourage user engagement and also bring another level of personalisation to the table.
OPTIONS FOR OMNICHANNEL
Retailers can no longer hide away in the store. They must meet consumers halfway, and usually, that means they can be found on a variety of channels. This is something we are seeing more and more as social media channels evolved.
For example, Instagram and Pinterest now allow you to shop from the platform. The fact that Instagram sees more than 1 billion potential shoppers on the platform per day shows that it is not something to be ignored.
Nectarom stated that US store, Nordstrom, has been working on this for some time. “Nordstrom has made it possible to buy items from Instagram and find items based on Pinterest favourites. Instagram has been a modelling platform for retail items. The retailer’s Instagram account now features a link which directs customers to Like2Buy, a platform that makes Instagram shopping easy. All of the items available for sale from the retailer’s feed are displayed as an elegant grid of photos. Shoppers can then scroll and “like” items, which are curated into a personal wishlist or shopping cart.”
CYBERSECURITY AFFECTS PHYSICAL STORES TOO.
Cybersecurity has been a primary concern for online stores. However, with physical stores adapting to new technologies, the increasing regularity of data breaches is forcing retailers to consider digital security. Data breaches of such sensitive general and card customer data can result in costly lawsuits, financial loss, reputation damage and customer trust/loyalty.
In light of GDPR brands can not afford to lose consumer data. More and more retailers now realise putting security as a top priority is crucial. With the use of in-store wifi, mobile apps and POS systems in-store, the monitoring of security and keeping up to date with software will help ensure a cyber attack is kept at bay.
We will see in the coming months what the retail revival will look like. It cannot be denied, however, that retailers need to work with the digital world to survive. Keeping with the times throughout transformations, such as the challenges seen in 2020, will ensure retailers provide that all-important, unforgettable shopping experience.
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