A company’s website should be more than a catalog on the web. Its content should attract, inspire and sustain customers – all which eventually leads to sales growth. An article on Blog.Shop.Org features a home decor flash sale company, whose assortment of limited products and fresh inventory inspire buyers and tell a story. The unique sales give the satisfaction of a quality find at a great price.
Mobile payments are retail’s next big thing to enhance customer experience, build loyalty and reach new shoppers all while improving business’ bottom line. A trend featured on MobileCommerceDaily.com, mobile payments could make up $172 billion in electronic transactions this year. Each retailer will need to customize mobile payments to its business and its specific customer needs.
A major department store is pursuing retail’s “holy grail”: to offer same-day delivery for online orders. Featured on MerchandisingMatters.com, the retailer’s new order-fulfillment system allows stores to ship items anywhere. Eventually, the retailer could offer same-day delivery, an attractive feature of major online-only retailers in some cities.
A national retailer is transforming the customer shopping experience with RFID technology. The century-old department store plans to eliminate traditional register stations and create anytime, anywhere checkout over the next two years, according to an article on Retail Info System News’ website. It’s a new idea. RFID is very expensive and retailers typically only use it on their high-ticket items.
Internet shoppers want more than the convenience of online shopping. They want customer service after the purchase, including easy return policies and fast delivery, according to a recent survey cited by Marketwatch.com. The right system can help retailers track customers and see their order history. Then companies can start to understand what their customers want and adjust their policies accordingly.
Retailers can turn “showrooming” — when a customer tries a product in-store before buying it online — on its head by playing on shoppers’ desire to see products in person, an article on STORES.org explains. Although retail stores are becoming a showroom for their chain’s online channel, locations that effectively “show off” their product through creative displays can convert browsers into buyers.
Some retailers have a new growth strategy in mind — focusing on international shoppers. A specialty chain hosts special events, offers complimentary personal shopping and hires multilingual employees at its stores. These details transform a domestic store into a must-see destination for international shoppers, according to a National Retail Federation article.
As more and more consumers check out a product in the store before returning home to buy it online, retailers are searching for a way to stop this trend. A recent survey, cited in an article on Marketing Magazine’s website, found that two-thirds of Australian shoppers treat the store like a “showroom.” These respondents cite poor customer service as the top reason they don’t shop in-store.
Rising gas prices continue to impact consumers’ buying habits, including grocery shopping, according to an article on Supermarket News’ website. Compared to last year, 26 percent of respondents say they’re making fewer trips to the grocery store but they’re still spending more. As Americans work longer hours, they have less time to go shopping. The trend is to shop offline and purchase online.
The digital age may be redefining the customer experience, but retailers should not overlook the simple features that help make shopping attractive to a burgeoning age group — seniors, according to an article on Crain’s New York Business’ website. Elder-friendly features like comfortable seats with back support or low store shelves attract shoppers, many of whom have significant levels of disposable income.
Amidst online retail’s double-digit growth, brick-and-mortar stores are resizing their floor footprint into a leaner model that focuses on customer experience. A real estate industry report cited in a Anchorage Daily News’ article noted the innovation occurring in retail. Industry experts are seeing three key trends: reduced store size, strategic in-store inventory and teaming up with online commerce.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.