What is the Amazon effect?
Since its entry to the lives of billions of people in 1994, the Amazon has changed the way that retail functions. Consumers have been empowered by the speed of purchase and the information available during the decision-making process thanks to digital commerce. Their online empowerment has changed their offline expectations. The transition between online and offline retail is far from over, however if brick and mortar stores are to survive the Amazon effect they must evolve into something greater to meet these new expectations. In fact, rather than raising the white flag, a crucial paradigm shift is being experienced by many as they see how their stores stand to benefit from the world of omni-channel and connected commerce. Say what? Brick and mortar stores can apply lessons learned in the online retail world? Absolutely!
To keep up with changing times, retailers need to embrace this shift by incorporating the following:
Reimagine your store role
Many retailers are realizing that the online and offline worlds are not actually two retail spaces but actually one in which both sides complement each other. As an example, 80% of American smartphone users are browsing the online site of a retailer via smartphone whilst physically present in the offline store. Hence, thanks to retail technologies, retailers can blend the two seamlessly by means of in-store digital catalogues and connected commerce solutions to benefit from both worlds. They can now display their existing data in-store with endless aisle and assisted selling solutions. They can exhibit their entire inventory with digital catalogues, complete sales quickly and make the customer relationship permanent and more personal by means of clienteling through an effective in-store usage of CRM insights. All these activities are necessary to compete with the Amazon effect.
Roll out technology
The online trading revolution effectively removed friction and waiting from the shopping experience. It allows to consumers to browse and purchase without the limitations of and old-fashioned mom and pop store – after all when was the last time you had to get in line before buying online or shout for an online sales assistant to help you?
The modern brick and mortar store can provide this same experience.
Products can be researched and found nearly instantly by means of effective in-store information points. Sales assistants can be empowered with smart devices to answer questions, locate stock (even globally) and, crucially, action the sale whilst conversing with the customer using mobile technologies. 73% of customers are said to favor retailers that use mobile technologies over those that do not.(1)
Analyze your customer behavior
In the online world, it is obvious that customers can be approached in an incredibly personalized manner, with product suggestions, up-sales etc tailored for their every need. In the past this did not apply to the offline world. Customer analytics were exclusively gained from clicks and browsing online history. The modern retailer knows that this is only part of the potential of analytics. Every interaction online and off, can be a source of information about your client base and a valuable source of feedback regarding your store which can be compiled in cloud computing and employed almost instantly. Sales assistants empowered with portable technology, interactive screens or other interactive sales tools recording customer queries and conducting personalized follow-up via email and social media constitute an incredible added value to the retailer’s brand.
The time is now!
The next 2 years will be crucial for retailers. Those who evolve and adopt the advantages in their physical stores will reap the benefits of increased sales, customer traffic and happy customers. The time is now to apply lessons learned from the online world. Retailers interested in evolving store and processes should know that Shopi is providing retailers with technologies that will future proof their brick and mortar stores. They can survive the Amazon effect with Shopi’s extensive Retail Platform and its easy-to-use products, namely, Shopisign, Shopisassist and Shopiconnect.