The world of retail is constantly shifting. Technology seems to spring a new social platform, an algorithm change or advertising channel upon us every single week.
It’s easy to see why many retailers just avoid being online altogether. The online world can suck you in and become completely overwhelming.
Whether you’re online or you have a shopfront (or both), here are 4 trends that you may have missed, that are important to know about, if you want to keep your store thriving.
1. Layby is gone
In a world of instant gratification, payment solutions like Afterpay and Zip pay are a necessity, both online and instore. Customers no longer want to wait, and the benefit for you, the retailer, is that using these platforms means you get the cashflow upfront. You no longer have to chase up slow payers and that valuable real estate in your stockroom can be filled with stock that moves. If you aren’t offering these payment options, you are literally losing sales to your competitors, who have kept up with this trend.
2. Customers still want to go into a store
The world’s biggest online market place Amazon, just payed a BILLION dollars for a chain of bricks and mortar stores. A sure sign that the age of shopping instore, is far from dead.
Research shows, that 81% of customers will research their product online, before making their way to a store. There will always be customers who enjoy the thrill of shopping in real life, those that want to touch/feel/try on before they buy, and the ones that want to take it home. Right Now.
3. Chatbots and automation are making the shopping experience more personal
Automation doesn’t have to be unfriendly, it can be the most personal staff member in your business. Automating the email process to guide your customer through their journey with you, isn’t complicated, but will take some time to map out. It’s a great way to take a fresh look at how you interact with your customers. Chatbots are new, but have already changed the retail landscape, as a way of interacting with your customers, without you having to be there.
4. Spam is a business killer
Retailers often succumb to sending emails that are filled with sale items and/or new products. It’s almost spam.
It’s time to stop sending shouty “buy-our-stuff” emails and start tailoring your communications to be more personal. The result will be a more engaged audience, a higher open rate, and most likely, more sales.
Contrary to what the media would have us believe, retail is not dead.
Satisfying your customers urge to shop, is your key goal. And finding a way to make that ‘purchasing journey’ as easy as possible, may mean thinking outside the usual ‘reatil marketing’ box.
Whether they’re prepared to go to a physical store, or they just want to purchase at a convenient time whilst sitting on their sofa, it’s your job to make sure they can spend their money with you, at a time and in a way, that suits them.
You don’t need to embrace every avenue of technology, but you do need to be open to assessing whether technology can help you work faster, easier, or enhance the customer experience. And if the answer is yes, then it’s time to run a cost-benefit analysis on how it can help your business, your sales, and ultimately, your customer.
Discover more retail business insights during Reed Gift Fairs Melbourne August! Sign up to a Retail Therapy education session today.