After the entrance of ecommerce in India, the face of retail industry has changed drastically. (See the info-graphic on history of Indian eCommerce). A large base of consumers prefer to purchase online rather than taking themselves to the brick & mortar stores. Also, m-commerce has been effecting the consumer purchase behavior extensively.
In the coming years, brick and mortar retail industry is also set to see some extreme changes taking place.The mom & pop shops are, however, trying hard to attract the customers to their stores. Technology investments shall be the top priority. Retailers will heavily invest in consumer data and relevant analytic to provide their customers with an experience much satisfying then the online stores.
Here are the top 4 trends in the retail industry which will give a hefty competition to online shopping.
- Omni-channel retailing: Today’s consumers have become increasingly tech savvy. Before purchasing a product, they do in-depth research on the product features, price, etc. Retailers will need to adopt to adopt to Omni Channel Retailing to ensure consistent consumer experience for such customers. Omni channel retailing concentrates on making the customer experience seamless through all available channels, i.e. computers, mobile devices, brick & mortar, catalog etc. It integrates functions like e-commerce, marketing, merchandise, inventory management, financial, warehouse management, CRM and makes them runs in sync. In Omni-channel retailing, all shopping channels work from the same database of products & prices, so the consumers experience is not hampered. This approach enhances marketing by providing offers relevant to customer purchase patterns, loyalty programs, data mining activities, etc. Consumers thus get an wholesome experience.
- Mobile devices: Mobile is going to play a much more important role in the coming years. Penetration of smartphones & tablet devices is paving a new road for shopping and payment methods. People have now started using their credit cards,digital wallets, etc. for purchasing online. These payment methods are definitely going to collect huge sum of payments. A recent study suggested that by December 2014, digital payment market will collect Rs 1.2 trillion. The brick and mortar retailers need to identifying how they can synchronize purchases with the mobile devices consumers use while they are in the store (sending a notification about the product they purchased, discount offers, and etc. over a secured network). These methods will open up new possibilities for the retailers at the point of sale. They will need to identify such opportunities and integrate new trends into their existing landscape, which will help them reap the profits.
- Personalized in-store experience: While eCommerce sites have been personalizing the experience for its consumers for years, retailers are will now need to step in with personalisation. After the boom of eCommerce industry in India, retailers have realized that shopping is the new method of being entertained. For differentiating the in-store shopping experience from the one that shoppers find online, retailers will have to work on providing each customer with an experience fitting his/her requirements. Gucci recently setup a 5 HD resolution displays in the Milan store through which customers can browse the products by hand gestures. Such innovation will help in attracting customers back to the stores.
- Reinvention of loyalty programs: Customers generally tend to opt for loyalty programs offered by the retailers. The retailers will now need to beefing up their loyalty programs. Loyalty programs will morphed into a whole new model. Loyalty cards might get diminished and instead of these cards, retailers will start providing customized rewards that will contain information relevant to consumers such as shopping behavior, social information, etc. These incentives are offered to the consumers so they can gain more benefits by shopping in brick & mortar stores rather than shopping online.
These are the 4 technology changes we could spot. Do list as comment the changes you think can help retailers bring by customer to their store. Also, if you are now thinking of upgrading your technology, here is the list of the top 7 retail management software for business. You can also talk to our Retailing & POS Software Analyst for the best suggestion on which software will fit your needs best.