Amazon’s message to retail: Offline and online are not two different things
We all know by now that Amazon is about to purchase Wholefoods Market for $13.7bn. If you didn’t here is the story – [Amazon to buy whole foods Market in $13.7bn deal]
The headlines are screaming it’s the end for brick & mortar retail because amazon will destroy all its competition. What we need to understand is that Amazon is sending a message by purchasing Whole foods market, offline and online should not be two different things. Enex Technology, a retail app and customer experience company listed 5 areas where retailers should invest in order to blur the lines between an offline and online shopping experience in a brick and mortar retail store.
1) Tech in stores:
Customers want tech in retail stores. A survey by Bounceback identified that 4 out 5 customers want more tech in stores that help them discover price, product and any potential discounts or promotions. Retailers can add iPad’s in their stores or add these tools into their retail apps to allow customers to find exactly what they are looking for. [Bounceback]
Personalisation is a word that gets thrown about everywhere now and is a trend that is becoming the forefront for brands, but how does it work? To fully utilise personalisation, you first need to understand your customers likes and habits and then re-engage with them when you have a message that is likely to benefit them.
Sending a message to all customers saying “in-store and online winter sale starts today!” will see conversion, however sending a message to Kate at the end of the month when she usually shops with “Hi, a jacket that you have saved has just gone on sale today!” will see your conversion rate increase significantly. Brands are seeing an increase in revenue of 10% already with personalisation (Retail environment)
Queues are costing British retailers £1bn a year in lost revenue from customers not wanting to wait too long [The Telegraph]. On average Brits will wait just under six minutes in a shop queue before they walk out. Streamlining the checkout process is becoming even more important now than it has been in the past and stores can start to achieve this by investing in self check out kiosks, empowering staff with check out devices or like Walmart has with Scan and go, empower customers with the ability to self check out with their own mobile phones, improving the customer experience at the same time. [Realwire]
4) Omni Channel retail experience
Assisting the customers journey from offline to online is increasingly becoming part of the customers expectation. If a product your customers wants in-store is sold out, can your staff order the item to be delivered to your customers home on the spot? A study by HBR found that multi channel customers are worth more! They spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. [HBR]
5) Customer experience
The previous 4 points all lead to the improvement of customer experience. Millennials who are believed to be leading the online shopping trend still prefer the brick and mortar experience. A study by CBRE found that 70% prefer brick-and-mortar retail and their preference is unlikely to change in the future. [CBRE]
It is an exciting time for brick and mortar retailing as innovation had mostly been prioritised by online. Customers are increasingly demanding more from their shopping experience at their favourite stores and retailers are now increasing investment for in-store tech and analytics to improve their customers journey and brand loyalty. The stores who listen and adapt to truly blur the lines between offline and online will cement their place in the future of brick and mortar.
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