A retail outlet is not only made of brick-and-mortar. According to a retail industry report cited by Inc., customers today are looking for a multi-channel shopping experience: they shop via mobile device or tablet and need an easy-to-navigate website. Because, in the end, most will choose to buy based on experience rather than the price.
All these trends are going to come down to one thing: execution. How well can a retailer act on these ideas? It’s all about the “omni-channel” — approaching the customer through multiple shopping channels, such TV, mobile, web and brick-and-mortar. Whether it’s a catalog, on the web, on a mobile device or in the store, it’s all about consistency of experience and execution. If a product is listed for one price online and the customer goes to the store to buy it, but find it’s listed at a higher price, nothing will disenfranchise a customer more.
Here’s a breakdown of the top emerging trends:
- Bargains will continue to attract customers, but it will take the shopping “experience” to win them over. Customers want great customer service and flexible shopping options, all integrated with multiple shopping channels such as TV, mobile devices or computers.
- Mobile and tablet devices are the connection between a store’s online and offline operations. Sales from e-commerce is projected to rise 49 percent, to about $10 billion. Deal-seeking shoppers are using their smartphones to search for better deals while shopping, so businesses need to find ways to retain their loyalty.
- Accessibility, such as a user-friendly website or a simple return process, is the only way to convert a customer’s “interest” in a purchase into an “intent.”
Source: Inc., February 2012