The retail industry is very dynamic, and it presents its own diverse and multifaceted business needs and processes. As a retailer, you must have faced challenges when addressing endless disruptive technologies as well as the demanding digital consumers. Customers now want to order products and services from anywhere, anytime. With this changing environment, you have to change your usual strategies. This can be a stressful process to any entrepreneur.
The focus today is on innovation. New store formats are being launched including multiple selling channels like online, call center, mail catalogs, etc. Retail organizations need to be actually Omni-channel by offering seamless shopping experiences to clients no matter the form of channel they utilize when shopping.
To remain calm even with the retail transformation, you must understand the key emerging trends. This way you can create plans on how to dominate the technology and retail industry in general and emerge successful in business.
Omni-channel consumer experience
Disruptive technologies such as mobile, social, analytics, and cloud are changing how retail is done today. You will need to add up new retail transformation channels to become an Omni-channel. This means bringing in synergy and orchestration across all business and operational domains, not on technology alone. You will also have to empower sales channels to permit additional cross-channel activities. The mantra is employing data and using inter-connected technology as well as the human service element to satisfy the needs of the digital customer.
Handling Customer Payments
To make it easy to do business, you will need to consider accepting multi-currency, multi-tender, redeem customer loyalty cards, and coupons online. Consider accepting more than one currency in any transaction. Link clients, who are verified, to transactions for security and efficiency purposes. Make the process of making payments more seamless and agile since this is key to quicker and slicker online commerce.
One of the latest trends is the use of smartphone devices and technology in-store like web kiosks. More retailers are currently using mobile apps, store Wi-Fi and beacons technology. Additionally, social media is utilized to target consumers with personalized offers that can be done via next generation consumer analytics. Payment processes are also being improved so as to beat the traditional queues with mobile wallet, mobile money transfers, etc.
Managing customer data and web analytics data is popular amongst retailers. However, data is growing exponentially to become “Big” especially with the introduction of social media. More retailers are facing major challenges when trying to understand and use the data since most of it is unstructured. Initiatives or big data can be used to improve supply chain, merchandising, e-commerce, marketing, and promotions and store operations decisions. It can also be employed to track customer behavioral and shopping analytics. Consider using big data projects to target potential customers with discounts and offers. You can also use predictive retail organization analytics to suggest/predict products and services.
Management of inventory and fulfillment of orders
Out of stock cases shouldn’t occur now and in the future. Improve assortment breadth by fulfilling orders from any inventory location to avoid loss of sale. The integration of third party parties like eBay and Amazon will also help to guarantee supply and deliveries since they use a wider distribution network.
Customer delivery proposition
You need to meet the ever-increasing customer expectations of products and services delivery. Reduce the waiting time by offering delivery options or notifying consumers via SMS or email. Give a customized touch and not the usual delivery. Field service management software can be used for route optimization, workforce scheduling and introduction of numerous delivery options.
By understanding this technology trends, it will be easier for you to absorb them in business and get to your consumers as needed.