The changing world of retail
The world of retail is changing big time. One by one all the big retailers are getting on board with the new commerce trends and it is only a matter of time until we all use our mobile phones for each single transaction. But what is changing exactly? Let us break it down for you. Take for instance the modern consumer and the changes occurring in their needs. The modern consumer wants to shop in the train on their way to work, while keeping personal data safe, and expecting to find their package at their front door by the end of the day. We are the generation of the spoiled consumer; we seek convenience and anything that makes our lives easier. We wish for a device that is our personal assistant and knows us well enough to tell us “This is something you will like”. We dream for the day that we can shop on our mobile phone, save our preferences and find them waiting for us on our desktop or our iPad. We shop online and seek an in-store shopping experience. More or less, we want it all and we want it for free. We want our mobile phones to be our wallets, our loyalty cards, and our salespeople – at the same time.
At the same time, new, game-changing E- & Mcommerce technologies are emerging, pushing companies to think out of the box. Amazon, Netflix, and Groupon are using marketing automation to personalize our shopping experience, while according to Retail Week, retailers such as Tesco, Kingfisher and Argos are exploring their options within a dynamic pricing strategy. Microsoft, Jeep and The North Face are running Mobile first advertising projects leveraging upcoming technologies such as location based targeting while Apple is about to enter the wearable device market. There are countless new software solutions and E- & Mcommerce platforms that are being improved rapidly everyday, such as NFC and contactless payment solutions, which all the big retailers have integrated in their services. In-store tracking –one may even call it “offline cookies”- is the new favourite of retailers since they can provide us with a more relevant and sorted out assortment.
This would make our shopping experience far more convenient; nevertheless, we consumers still have our doubts. Personal data privacy- the soft spot of E- & Mcommerce– makes us suspicious towards companies and wary about what they do with all the information they gather about us. Also, most online retailers find it hard to compete with Amazon’s same day delivery service and return regulations. Next to that, we see companies having trouble leveraging the extreme amount of data available so that they can find the best solution for us, produce a more personalized and effective marketing and ad content, and provide us with a personalized shopping experience. In the meantime, all the major retail players are active on social media, trying to create digital relationships with us, and have added social ads in their marketing tools. All together, this is Omni Channel Retailing, and it’s already happening. Companies want to provide us with a seamless shopping experience across all channels, integrating the offline with the online, the retail with the Etail; and companies such as IBM have already created the first platforms for this purpose.
Changes, struggles, opportunities; it is all a matter of point of view. Those smart enough to seize the incredible chances they have in their hands will become the next retail leaders.