In order to succeed with the increasingly dynamic retail industry, retail operations need to find ways to keep up with consumer buying habits and evolve in consequence.
Senior Director of Operations at Olive & Bette’s, Frank LoBue, provides fourways in which retail operations can implement this change.
Personalised Consumer Experience
According to Frank LoBue, today’s big data provides an opportunity for retailers to provide a more personalized experience for their consumers. Understanding the exact wants of consumers will reduce friction and increase sales while simultaneously improving brand loyalty, since consumers are more likely to be satisfied with a product that is tailored specifically to them.
For example, Nike’s personalization app NikeID provides consumers with the ability to create custom products. Cadbury also uses personalization campaigns to increase brand awareness, like their 2017 personalized video creation campaign.
Augmented Reality Beyond the Gimmicks
Beyond existing as a gimmick, mobile augmented reality now has the potential to be used to truly help consumers. IKEAwas one of the first retail businesses to add AR in their operations by letting consumers place furniture in their space before they buy.
More mobile phones are adding AR functionality for users, which means there is a golden opportunity for more retailers to implement this technology into their operations. In the near future, those who succeed in creating useful AR experiences that improve the buyer’s journey will win out on the competition that fails to do the same.
Improved Experiential Shopping
Retailers are adding experiential shopping as part of their regular operations – for example, Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath offers a spa-like experiencewhile you shop for books.
Because this trend is more widely adopted this year, Frank LoBue states that retailers must move beyond gimmicky experiences and provide real value to their consumers. This means retailers should take into account the specific needs of their audience instead of copying concepts other businesses are integrating.
For example, Nordstrom’s latest storeoffers the ability for consumers to select what they’d like to try on via a mobile app – once consumers arrive at the location, employees have already prepared a dressing room for their convenience. This provides real value to the consumer by saving them time.
A Focus on Mobile
In 2017, 65% of Shopify’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday saleswere completed using mobile platforms. Because more and more consumers are choosing to make purchases using mobile phones, retail operations must place a focus on their mobile experiences.
This means adapting websites to become mobile-friendly for a seamless experience as well as developing apps for iPhone and Android.
Additionally, Frank LoBue recommends taking advantage of built-in payment systems on these mobile platforms to reduce friction during checkout. For many consumers, friction during mobile purchasing experiences will become a deal breaker, resulting in lost sales for retailers who fail to offer frictionless mobile experiences.
The Bottom Line
2019 is all about providing seamless experiences that consumers will remember for years to come. Retailers must learn to become proactive in providing these constant changes to remain relevant in this industry.