1. Evolve to create a one-stop shop for customers
Retailers today are expanding into community, content, and a broader product selection. The future winners will be those who build a connected ecosystem of related services that customers can engage with through one seamless experience. Shoppers want to interact with retail brands that offer convenience.
Our research found that nearly half of shoppers (49 per cent) chose to buy from online marketplaces (Etsy, eBay, Alibaba, Shopee). Additionally, 39 per cent of shoppers were more likely to buy from a marketplace that offered a wide selection of products. Instead of bouncing from website to website, shoppers can manage multiple needs in one place, as retailers become their go-to destination for both products and ancillary services.
2. Integrate the best of online and offline
The shift to online shopping over the last 18 months shows no signs of slowing. But physical stores aren’t going away. More than half (52 per cent) of consumers in the US plan to make the majority of their department store purchases in shops this holiday season. Stores are still relevant and the best place for consumers to experience a brand.
In 2022, a seamless integration of online and offline will be critical to success. According to our study, 55 per cent of consumers indicated they sometimes go to a physical store to check out an item before purchasing it online. Store experiences need to be digital and data-driven. By seamlessly integrating data across web, mobile, storefront and inventory channels, retailers can digitally expand their physical footprint while providing the connected, personalised experiences shoppers want.
3. Monetise data to increase engagement and sales
There are many ways a shopper can engage with a brand, and each avenue provides an opportunity to deliver personalised communications. Among shoppers who buy online, 37 per cent say they would like personalised offers based on spending preferences, while 31 per cent want personalised content or advice to help them shop.
Retailers must break down data silos within their organisations to gain a clearer view and better understanding of their customers’ preferences. Connecting data from point-of-sale transactions, website traffic, email engagement, and media impressions enables retailers to create targeted campaigns, personalised offers, and customer-centric products and services, which ultimately can result in increased brand engagement and sales.
4. Offer financial services
Many retailers today are offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers as a natural extension of their retail function of buying and selling consumer goods. They’re creating a new ecosystem that serves a large demographic that they cater to in retailing.
By leveraging technology and the vast data they have on their customers, retailers are unlocking a large customer base that is either under-banked or has no current banking relationships but still needs financial services like loans, advice or payments. From digital wallets to banking, customers will have their own personal CFO in their back pocket – a one-stop shop for all of their financial needs while still being connected to the retailers’ larger business suite.
5. Deliver better customer experiences
With a rise in online shopping comes an increase in returns. Only 38 per cent of shoppers are satisfied with the ability to try on and try out products online. Additionally, 46 per cent of people said that when shopping online, they are more likely to buy from a brand that offers an easy way to manage returns. By truly knowing the customer, retailers can get ahead of returns.
Data is key to improving customer experiences and operational efficiency. Retailers need data about their products and insights into how customers are buying and returning their products so that the information can be fed into the customer experience. Providing as much information as possible about products will help customers make better purchase decisions. In the case of apparel, retailers should use data to ensure that, from the start, a product fits the customer. Returns can be prevented with better customer experiences.
In 2022, retailers must continue to reimagine their businesses for the new age of retail, from evolving as platforms and transforming their store experiences by integrating online and offline, to monetising data, investing in financial services products and optimising return costs by focusing on a better customer experience. Making a memorable and meaningful bricks-and-mortar experience requires a modern-day take, one that combines the convenience of the digital tools and services consumers have become accustomed to with an inherently unique experience.