The US brick and mortar retail market is undergoing a “retail apocalypse”, it is estimated that 6300 stores are to be closed this year. The liquidation includes retailers like Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears and many others. 2018 recorded the highest number of retail store closures with 155 million square feet of affected retail space and has seen a series of buyouts, mergers, as well as both small and large retailers forced into bankruptcy. Some of the various reasons can be; increase in eCommerce, direct to consumer model resulting in lower prices, or simply retailers refusing to innovate thus leading to poor customer experience.
“Amazon has done something for all of retail, which is resetting the customer expectations about how quickly and easily you can get things”Mary Dillon, CEO- ULTA Beauty.
The retail landscape is being changed by various drivers such as the speed of technology and shift of shopper behaviour, these changes challenge the existing retail models. Of the many factors, eCommerce is considered one of the predominant reasons. The availability of products, customised delivery options and competitive pricing all help convenience for specific shoppers.
In saying that, eCommerce accounted for 10% of the total retail sales in 2018, with a projected 13.7% in 2020 in the US. eCommerce players are increasingly opening brick and mortar stores. They understand that physical retail has its own set of conveniences such as; the ability to touch, feel and try on the items, instant gratification and in-person assistance.
“You walk into a retail store, whatever it is, and if there’s a sense of entertainment and excitement and electricity, you wanna be there”Howard Schultz
Physical retailers having these distinct advantages give them a step ahead. Invest in technologies in-store gives an edge over online retailers. The technological investment should ensure they can provide fully integrated experiences across all touchpoints. Gartner identified a variety of emerging retail technology (e.g. Artificial Intelligence) that will shape retail over the next 2-3 years, they call these accelerators. Besides technology, success depends on how well a retailer can perform against the competition. The growth potential entirely depends on how effectively a retailer can combine those technological accelerators with shopper needs along with their retail experience or skills.
Personalisation has become essential to any retailers as it is key to creating a relationship with their customers to ensure they see products relevant to them.
Case: Store assistants at Talbot’s USA have access to customer information to recommend products based on their purchase history. This allows staff to recommend products based on items the customers already own. If the customer purchases the items, a loyalty discount is applied. The experience makes the customer feel special and increases the chances of a return visit to Talbot’s. In a world of increasingly dynamic retail interactions, personalisation is critical to connecting with the multichannel shopper.
Retail and customers are on the move. Retailers are challenged by their competitors, both online and offline, who continuously improve their processes to be more efficient and add more value to the customer. The future of retail is all about controlled and trusted connections.
Find out how we can help drive personalization in-store with no IT integration needed. Get In touch!