The retail industry is undergoing a dramatic shift, with eCommerce capturing a larger share of sales than ever before. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that online retail spending will grow 8-12% in the next year - that is up to three times higher than the growth rate of the wider retail industry. The shift away from physical retail toward digital retail is happening at a rate faster than many observers expected and with no signs of this trend slowing down, it becomes imperative for retailers to embrace this change and come up with a coherent eCommerce strategy.
Here are 6 quick tips to help you succeed with today’s demanding shoppers:
1. Blur the lines between real & virtual worlds
Although the store will continue to play a central role in the retail experience. The upper hand will belong to retailers that can blend their online and in-store experiences, making it simpler for customers to find what they want and sellers to close their deals. We can in fact view physical and virtual stores as extensions of each other. It does not matter where or how the customer initiates the purchase. The same prices and benefits should always apply. Additionally – customers should be able to buy goods online, and be able to pick up, return or exchange in the store. In other words, treat consumers like the multitasking, cross-channel shoppers that they are. [Tweet This]
Consumers will expect retailers to know their preferences. They will expect to get meaningful product suggestions, based on their shopping history or preferences. The goal is to help the consumer wade through the vast amounts of products available and get to the heart of the matter. Busy customers want to browse less and find more [Tweet This], which is where guided discovery and thoughtful, relevant recommendations come in.
3. Dig into your data
Analytics plays a key role in making personalization possible. [Tweet This] Use your data to see, e.g. which customers have been active in the past but have not bought anything for the last 6 months. Group them together: send them coupons or discount offers to entice them to return. See which men are buying your suits but don’t buy your shoes. Group them together and create a campaign. Target the right consumer with the right product. But tread carefully, be thoughtful and not invasive. This becomes especially important when dealing with sensitive things in life such as pregnancies and other personal matters. So use good sense and treat your customers with respect.
Tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices are quickly replacing the home computer as the go-to shopping tools. Last Black Friday has been named “Mobile Friday” with almost 40% of all online shopping done on mobile devices. This trend will continue as more consumers are empowered to use their phones and tablets to shop anytime and anywhere. Gone are the days of specialized low functionality mobile websites. Today, businesses need to make sure their sites are responsive so customers can view them on any type of handheld mobile device. On the social side, websites that encourage sharing will continue to be popular. Consumers like to validate their purchases with their friends and family, or show off their adventures in “retail therapy”.
5. Provide the delivery options
In a recent UK survey, over 50% of the respondents claimed to have abandoned an online purchase because of unsatisfactory delivery options. So, make sure you offer delivery methods that suit your customers. [Tweet This] Do you need to be ultra-competitive in terms of delivery speed and cost or do your customers prefer a more personal touch that comes with a hand written thank you card and elegant wrappings? Also, offer Click-and-Collect as a check out option. More and more people don’t want to be confined to their houses waiting for the mailman or risking delivery failure. They would rather go to the store themselves to pick up the goods. Exactly when it suits them and with the added benefit of being able to see the goods or even try them out prior to pulling the trigger. In this scenario you have succeeded in bringing the customer to your store, opening the possibility of added impulse buys.