The retail industry is rapidly evolving. Consumers are more connected with different technologies and more information than ever before. By the time consumers get to the store, they already know what they want to buy, how much they want to pay, and what their options are. Modern consumers value speed and convenience, the ability to quickly find products, fast checkout and quick and seamless delivery. Consumer expectations have reached a new level, and businesses must adjust their strategies to meet the growing demands.
Retailers who can’t see this ongoing evolution and aren’t modernizing and invest in new business models and technology solutions are already in trouble and risk losing consumers as 70% of consumers say technology makes it easier than ever for them to take their business elsewhere. Retailers need to leverage technology to keep their customers happy and take their businesses to the next level in the shopping, shipping, and customer experience.
Retailers must adapt to online and mobile channels and an omnichannel approach to staying competitive since consumers are shopping across more channels than ever before. For example, retail apps have become a favorite shopping tool as 71% of consumers said they have one or more retailer apps on their phones and 74% of consumers access them at least once a week. As of February 2018, the three most popular mobile shopping apps in the US were Amazon with 133.34M users, Walmart with 72.33M users and eBay with 57.99M users.
The continuous use of mobile shopping apps is an excellent opportunity for retailers to build loyalty. However, retailers must continue to offer competitive pricing, engaging customer experiences, and seamless delivery across channels to outperform competitors and sustain a loyal customer base. In this new era of eCommerce, fulfillment can often make or break a customer relationship. Retailers must adjust their logistics operations as delivery demands get stronger. According to a recent survey, over 50% of retailers are increasing investments in supply chain management process upgrades and technology upgrades this year compared to last year. Last mile deliveries can be expensive, however, most retailers agree the benefits outweigh the costs.
Free shipping is no longer an option but a competitive necessity. According to a recent consumer report, 50% of online shoppers will typically either back out of a purchase if they don’t qualify for free shipping or add additional items to their carts to meet a shipping minimum. About 40% of online shoppers expect retailers to offer free two-day delivery. Free and fast deliveries have become the new standard that retailers must rise to if they want to thrive.
While some retailers are struggling to keep up with consumers’ increasing demands, others are succeeding by embracing technology. Old business strategies are no longer effective, Developing new ways to engage customers and make their shopping experiences faster and easier will help retailers evolve. Many national retailers are already using technology to expand their omnichannel presence, enhance customer experience, and develop same-day capabilities to meet rising customer expectations.
Retail is going down new and innovative paths with technology leading the way. Now is the time to leverage technology to develop new business strategies before your competition does it first and forces you to adapt to theirs. You can win the race; you have to start now.