People love to talk about how things are DYING. It's a rhetoric that appears so often that one has to wonder why humanity has such a morbid obsession with death.
So then, it's no surprise that with traditional retail being down in the dumps for the past number of years, there's plenty of talk about The Death of Retail.
The way experts describe it, you'd think we'd all be shopping for stuff via the voice-activated virtual assistant embedded directly into our eye sockets by now.
So why does everyone seem to think traditional retail is dying?
In short, because it makes for a sexy headline.
Let's be real. There's no denying that retail is drastically changing. Malls everywhere are shutting down and going bankrupt. Big box stores are downsizing by the dozen. And new ecommerce shopping tech from Amazon is making headlines almost weekly at this point.
But large industries go through radical change all the time. WITHOUT ending up in the morgue.
And that's precisely what's happening to retail right now. The good news is, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Here are 7 of the biggest shifts in retail strategy we're seeing right now.
From Customer Service to VIP Experiences
Traditional retail has created this mentality where you only engage with employees when there is a problem.
But with new mobile, connected, and data-driven tech, retailers are now able to provide a much more personalized customer experience. Every single time.
This is becoming increasingly important as many studies have shown that shoppers are valuing buying experiences over things.
From Sales Associates to Product Experts
Empowering your sales team is more important, and easier to do, than ever. Providing them with full access to the company's product info, inventory, and supply chain gives them the tools they need to provide an exceptional customer experience.
It also happens to be how millennials prefer to work these days.
From Out of Stock to Always Available
Cart abandonment is a retailers worse nightmare. That moment when a customer is just about to buy, but abandons their purchase at the last second.
The rise of omnichannel retail has vastly improved purchasing options. Retailers are now able to use demand-flexible inventory, which ensures the customer is able to buy what they want, when they need it.
In other words, if one store doesn't have what the customer is looking for, they can proceed with the purchase, and supply it to the customer through another store that does have it in stock, or even ship it directly to the customer's home.
Information Silos to Knowledge Networks
Treasure troves of useful data used to be locked away in separate silos, divided by departments. Now, by integrating all of these data pockets into one super information highway, the entire company can collaborate more efficiently.
Unifying the omnichannel experience with better customer service and order fulfillment is just the beginning.
From Intuition-Led to Data-Driven
What used to be left up to the individual's gut instincts, can now be quantified with hard data and turned into actionable info.
Monitoring trends, analyzing cultural shifts, refining the buying experience, and measuring the results are all thanks to our good ol' friends 0 and 1.
From Transactions to Relationships
With so many ways to interact with brands these days, the customer experience never ends when they make a purchase.
Businesses are constantly searching for ways to build brand loyalty and lasting relationships to keep customers coming back for life.
Every single interaction needs to further reinforce your brands style and principles, and keep your business top-of-mind in your customers.
From Bottom Line to Consumer-First
Retailers used to be dead focused on the numbers. The bottom line. Profits and margins on every single transaction. Now, when trying to build brand loyalty and customer relationships, retailers are willing to wiggle a little bit.
If you know that taking a cut, or even a loss, on an initial sale means there's a good chance to gain that customer's loyalty, and have them come back to buy more stuff in the future, you should take it.
Time to take action
No, retail isn't dying. But it is changing, and fast. In order to maintain a competitive advantage in such an intense market, you need to change with it.
Look at your current retail strategy and see if you can improve in these 7 areas:
- Hyper-personalized customer experiences
- Empowered and educated sales reps
- Omnichannel methods in every facet of retail
- Integrated and unified data
- Monitoring and analyzing crucial metrics
- Building brand loyalty and presence
- Creating and maintaining beautiful customer relationships
Before you know it, you'll be the one proving arguments about the "death of retail" dead wrong.
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