With Amazon set to own 50% of e-commerce sales in the US by 2021, we might all wonder why it is also investing in physical retail stores after acquiring a large bricks-and-mortar footprint by buying Whole Foods.
It is striving to serve the consumer demand for convenient shopping, with in-store and online fitting into consumer lives whatever platform they’re using, whenever they have time. UK retailers have to follow a similarly innovative path, thinking about emerging shopping behaviours and responding quickly in order to remain in business.
Ben Davis in Marketing Week argues retailers should look to IKEA for inspiration. With consumers wanting convenience, online often wins, but with in-store technology, IKEA has been helping its customers make considered purchases across their multichannel paths.
Advances in technology mean that it is now easier to understand what role each part of a customer’s experience, offline and online, has contributed towards a sale. As customers journey from online to offline, or vice versa, they expect to feel consistent levels of service, personalisation and creativity. Retailers are more aware of this than ever, with 67% of e-commerce brands who received over $6m funding opening a physical store in the last three years, according to research by Hero.
Inspiration and feeling what it would be like to fit a product into your own life is one area where in-store can win customers’ hearts and minds.
With retail signage, interactive touch points, helpful staff and interesting content, stores can provide a rich shopping experience. But retailers aren’t doing it well enough or often enough at the moment, according to a Customer Experience Survey from IBM in 2017, which found that the quality of the digital aspect of the in-store experience from most brands is judged as only adequate or worse for 91% of brands.
Digital signage from suppliers such as https://moodmedia.co.uk/digital-signage-solutions/ can enable retailers to remain responsive to any emerging trends in their customers’ behaviours.
Touchscreens and virtual reality experiences can complement sales assistants and sample products in-store and give a customer a feeling of having taken something valuable away from their time in a store. It could be a smile or a few minutes thinking about something other than work – even if they haven’t yet actually completed a transaction to purchase a product.