June 10, 2019 | ARVIN JAWA
Brick-and-mortar closes deals, but retail journeys begin on mobile and cross over from the real-time digital environment to real-life store experiences that are engaging, hyper-relevant, completely personalized and data-driven.
Take the retail world in 2018, where we saw pop-up shops in malls, stores built for Insta-moments, and online brands opening physical locations to build fanfare. We saw store activity that redefined basic shopping into an integrated experience. Shoppers today are still most likely to complete a retail journey in-store, with 85% of retail sales happening there. But where people choose to shop is driven by experience, and consumers want to shop on their terms.
The new retail norm is not just physical or only digital. It is everything and completely consumer centric. Retailers that want to stay relevant must build a model that is omnichannel, flexible, personal and always on. Here’s how.
Deliver Content in Surround Sound
Consumers “like” and later unfriend brands on a whim. We’re now a society of hyper-adopters who will hyper-abandon a brand or product in a moment. So, retailers must become hyper-relevant and hyper-personal. This is accomplished by delivering content in fresh, focused and helpful ways so consumers realize value at every turn. It means anticipating consumers’ needs across every platform.
For example, geofencing technology can create virtual zones so shoppers entering those boundaries get personalized offers. Imagine, you walk past an endcap of folded towels and an in-app offer pops up a deal for a matching shower curtain. Or, audio triggers borrow cues from TV, radio or live-event content to dispatch relevant recommendations in the moment.
How does a retailer achieve this hyper level of relevance? Leverage channels where consumers spend most of their time, and push personalized and localized content.
Give Customers Control
Customers want to control how, when and where they shop. They want to engage in a retail journey on their terms. That applies to the way they browse and buy online to the services they expect in store. As a retailer, your job is to offer a range of options: self-service, self-scanning, staff-assisted and mobile-driven. Because shoppers’ behaviors can vary, your digital-physical offering must be built to take their cues and cater to their preferences.
Take the checkout as an example of how retail has significantly transformed. For retailers, checkout is the most significant part of a shopping journey—but for the consumer, it should be the least important. Seamless one-click ordering and friction-less checkout are the future. Check-out must be a seamless checkpoint that gives consumers choice so they can control how it happens: with alternative payments like Venmo, via curbside or in-store pickup, or through digitally-initiated ordering.
Ultimately, the key is to give consumers choices so they can control how they check out. As a retailer, you must meet shoppers where they are with tailored tools so they can complete transactions without hesitation.
Leverage the Mobile Monopoly
Mobile phones are our world—they’re the center of our lives, and their prominence in the retail environment is reshaping the way consumers shop. Forrester Research estimates that by 2021, online sales completed on a smartphone will equal a quarter of all online sales transactions. Now, consider mobile-influenced offline sales, where 1/3 of in-store purchases originated in 2016. That number is growing. Not to mention, half of U.S. consumers use a mobile retail app while in the store.
What this means for retailers is simple, yet complex. The simple part? Mobile is monopolizing our retail behaviors. The complexity comes with deploying an integrated mobile strategy that enables the mobile phone as a data collection tool. Mobile and data together give retailers an opportunity to offer personalized retail journeys based on customers’ profiles: where they go, what they browse, how they buy and order history.
Constantly Innovate to Anticipate Consumer Demand
To stay relevant, retailers must think about the most important part of their organizations—the consumer. To do this, retailers will need to continue innovating as they provide a journey-based experience that delivers tailored content and empowers consumers with choices so they can shop on their terms.
Consumers want faster, more convenient and highly personalized shopping experiences. Learn how you can deliver with Diebold Nixdorf Retail Solutions, a portfolio of POS technology, software and retail automation solutions that redefine the retail journey.
This content originally appeared on Internet Retailer.