Is retail dead?
No. But it is dramatically changing.
The increase of e-commerce, a shift in consumer preference towards eating out over shopping, and years of overbuilding have combined to create a difficult environment for traditional retail to thrive.
With major retail stores like Toys-R-Us going out of business and mall owners struggling to fill space, retail as we know it is shifting…but not dying.
Every 50 years or so, the retail industry experiences a major disruption. For example, the increase of urbanization led to department stores, and automobiles and the rise of suburbs resulted in the creation of shopping malls.
The internet has changed the playing field for retail—but it hasn’t destroyed it.
Instead, the distinction between shopping in a traditional brick-and-mortar business and shopping online is fading, creating a digitally connected retail environment. Take Amazon, which recently purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. This merger will allow Amazon a more comprehensive distribution footprint, helping them to optimize their online services and establish a powerful presence in a physical location.
Companies can now market their products via mobile, in the customer’s home, in transit, or in the store itself. Advanced in-store technology can help make recommendations based on the customer’s profile and personal preferences. The consumer still handles the product in-store—and then makes the purchase on their cellular device.
In many cases, it is to the advantage of the consumer to make the purchase on their mobile phone. A friend of mine ordered a polaroid camera to be delivered to a Best Buy. After driving 30 miles out of his way to pick up the camera, the purchase wasn’t ready. Right there in the store he ordered the camera on his phone from Amazon Prime—for less than he would have paid in-store for an alternate product.
Rather than try to challenge the ease and efficiency of shopping on the internet, many physical retail stores have created environments where customers can have a memorable experience that drives up online transactions.
“Shoppable showrooms” are stores where customers can try a product, consult a stylist or salesperson, and process returns—but not make an in-store purchase.
A customer may visit a “shoppable showroom” for example, or even an Apple store, and still make the purchase on their telephone. They have seen and experienced the product. Now they can have it shipped directly to their home.
However, companies like Toys “R” Us (which has filed for bankruptcy) are failing as businesses because they are trying to improve a dying model. Toys-R-Us was created on the model of a store that relied on a single stop location with low prices that could crush competition. But today, the variety of toys available at Toys “R” Us cannot stand up to the endless selection of inexpensive products available online at Amazon, Walmart, and Target.
Even with new features that allow customers to see the availability of toys at different stores, and a loyalty program that allows improved ad targeting and product life cycle management, Toys-R-Us is still failing to adapt to a model of business that is better suited to the desires and needs of today’s consumer.
Today, thanks to the unstoppable move towards data marketing, consumers are able to purchase anytime, anywhere on their mobile device. In fact, the average consumer spends 60% of shopping time on the Internet on the phone, browsing different brands and researching in order to make the best purchase.
To monopolize on the sales of products online, however, brands and retailers must know how to optimize the digital shopping experience.
How to optimize mobile shopping
51% of Americans say they prefer to shop online. In 2016, consumers spent $327 billion dollars online, and the numbers continue to grow significantly.
Unfortunately, the online purchasing process is not always made easy or expedited for the consumer.
On average, a retail website has a customer navigate through 13 fields before making a final purchase. As a result, a large percentage of consumers are likely to abandon their shopping carts before finishing the transaction.
Here are the statistics on which companies have reduced their online shopping experience to one page:
But how many fields do customers, on average, have to go through in order to finish a purchase online?
Ideally, a company should design their website to ensure a single page, or at the most, 2-3 pages before checkout.
Here’s a video I did on how to ensure your customers can make quick, easy purchases—and not abandon their shopping carts.
Online shopping has changed the face of retail as we know it. But in order to ensure that customers do make purchases on their mobile phones, the transaction process has to be fast and easy.
Let’s discuss your online marketing and retail strategy. We can help to put the most advanced direct marketing strategy and tactics into play. Give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at firstname.lastname@example.org.