2016 Retail industry update, part 1
Meeting consumer expectations for omnichannel consistency
As retail companies implement plans to succeed in 2016, many revolve around leveraging new and emerging technologies to meet customer expectations, keep pace in an increasingly competitive marketplace and maximize cross-generational appeal. While these goals may be at least somewhat consistent year after year, the proliferation of smart devices, from in-store digital installments to mobile apps that are quickly changing the retail game, means that traditional sales and marketing methods are being replaced with sleek new strategies designed solely around consumers—and the devices they use to interact with their favorite brands.
Avoiding the gap: Keeping the path-to-purchase seamless
A major way retailers are looking to up their personalization game and improve customer satisfaction is by creating a direct path-to-purchase that ultimately delivers the same experience to all shoppers, regardless of how they choose to begin or finish their purchasing journey. While in concept this theory sounds relatively simple, the enormity of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that shoppers can connect with a store across a variety of online channels, and often through brick-and-mortar browsing as well, leaving companies with the challenge of ensuring consistency across every engagement.
As a result, retailers are focused on improving both their in-store and online presence to be both compelling and compatible, thereby increasing the potential for omnichannel customer interaction.
Looking forward: The tools that help shape the journey
With so much opportunity at their fingertips, how then do companies keep up with the speed of innovation? The answer lies in strategically investing in the tools that serve the needs of their audience base. However varied they may be, the initiative remains the same—capture their interest, and make sure to keep it as they traverse the ever-winding road toward that final transaction.
From in-store Wi-Fi to beacon technology and “smart shelves,” the potential for technology-fueled interaction is enormous—and growing by the minute. Be sure to read Part 2 of this article, where we explore some innovative ways retailers are staying ahead, and the risks and rewards they’re encountering along the way.