There is a lot of talk about the “retail apocalypse” and just how traditional retailers are being destroyed by the shift to online. The reality is that shoppers continue to be shopping, however discretionary spending is pulled in new and various ways. Retail sales across channels, including Easter Monday opening hours, keep growing. However, that growth is being driven by premium and value-based retailers, with mid-priced retailers reporting flat growth and store closures. Retail isn’t being destroyed, but is within the process of being redefined. How retailers decide to define themselves will determine if we will discover them on the opposite side.
To help maintain their edge against your competitors, retailers are ramping up their usage of in-store technology to fulfill their customer care needs and push their customers to get more online. Consumers expect seamless experiences, and automation means retailers can reduce their workforce in order to defend ever-shrinking margins. It’s a win-win, right?
The unfortunate reality is that retail’s use of technology is backfiring. Instead of keeping their customers loyal and buying direct, it pushes them right into Amazon’s territory. And as soon as shoppers start buying from Amazon, they often don’t come back.
Data and solid analysis comprise the cornerstone for any successful business today. However they only enable you to get up to now. They illuminate correlations in behaviors, although not the causes behind the behaviors. Knowing the “why” – the motivations behind behaviors – requires stepping out of your office and into your consumer’s world. Only then are you gonna be capable of craft strategies that speak right to your consumers’ needs, like the unarticulated ones.
We explored several mid- and value-priced retailers to gain insights within their Weekend store hours, challenges, and aspirations. What we should found was eye-opening.
Signage and visual cues are frequent and prominent, pushing shoppers to use their phones for assistance or to look at. Requests to associates for help are addressed via referral to your digital device or even the customer care desk. Employees stock shelves or ring up purchases, and they are not able to assist shoppers.
Merchandise waiting to get restocked is piled high in shopping carts, on check-out tables, and on the racks themselves. Technology that’s expected to make everyone’s lives easier is often broken, unusable, and ignored. Digital shoppers are accustomed to streamlined, curated experiences that are frictionless from beginning to end. Our in-store experiences were rife with hurdles, disappointments, and distractions that must be overcome so that you can transact.
In one trip, we discovered a display of frozen treats makers. None of the boxes were marked with a price, therefore we flagged down a passing store associate, who told us that normally we could utilize a price scanner, however the one nearby was broken. She directed us to customer service – halfway over the store – to make them scan it for people. The customer service rep could tell us the purchase price, but couldn’t answer our questions regarding the way the product actually worked. She told us to discover solutions to our questions online. We quickly found the product on our phones, but additionally found universal, overwhelmingly-negative reviews of any product that didn’t actually work. The package went back on the shelf and that we left the store empty-handed and disappointed.
Our in-store shopping experience was the antithesis of online. It required multiple steps that failed us at each and every reason for engagement. We had no desire to return and experience in-store shopping again whenever we egjlda shop a lot more easily online. Make use of your physical locations to delight customers, not alienate them. Your store’s experience is likely made to maximize sales per sq . ft .. Imagine if instead you designed an in-store experience coming from a place of love? Remember: Your customer shops in-store because she would like to, not because she must.
How loyal would your customer be to your brand if she walked in to a store that welcomed, surprised, and delighted her? One which made her life easier and made her feel loved? What can that seem to be like for the brand? Even if When does the store open ultimate role is as a feeder for online, you need to do whatever you can to guard that direct line, so that you don’t lose your customers to Amazon.
Who’s performing it right? Consider Sephora and Athleta. Customers are created to feel welcome and associates help them shop. Or the Apple Store, that is a giant showroom where consumers are personally guided through purchases (essentially the same method that happens online). Rather than joining the low-price race to the bottom, these retailers are continuing to provide their potential customers experiences that keep them loyal and buying direct.