FUTURE OF RETAIL

Business is constantly changing as it tries to keep up with changing buyer behavior. Merchants definitely need to include the following five issues in their strategic planing.

 

Buyers know just as much as sellers

It used to be that customers relied on the help and expertise of sales people. Today, they like to find out exact details about an individual product before they even enter a store. Which is why the questions they ask sales staff are much more detailed. But how can merchants deal with such superior information? Using technology, such as a tablet, to support sales can deliver the needed information exactly at the right moment. But of course, expertise and good interpersonal skills are and will remain crucial factors for closing a sale at the POS.

Merchants need to offer specific and relevant suggestions

In times big data, customers no longer want to be treated like part of the herd. Once they are ready to register with a merchant and disclose their personal data and buying behavior, they are assuming they will receive personalized communication and offers. And that is across all sales channels.

Mobile devices bring more customers into the store

Bricks and mortar business is not dead – just the opposite. Even top dogs like Amazon and Alibaba are daring to step into the analog world. But it is still not possible to completely do without technology. “Digital signage” in the store, in the form of interactive displays, bring the two worlds together. It brings individualized advertising, additional product information and additional products currently not available on the shelf into the store. And bricks and mortar business can gain points by using technology to get more costumers into the store. The key is the customer’s smartphone. Using geographic location systems, personalized offers and sales can be directly sent as push notifications when the costumer is somewhere near the store.

Opinions are more important than ever

If costomers are asked, why they choose a certain product, the topic of reviews unavoidably comes up. What do other costomers think of the same product? How is the workmanship and durability? First-hand information from influencers – or directly from acquaintances and friends – can have a tremendous influence on buying decisions.

Users want to interact

How can emotions be created on the screen that match those of the real world? Interactivity and 360° product images give shoppers a more accurate picture of the product. They can view the product from all angles and test certain features – such as in an interactive video. Shoppers become familiar with the product in a playful way while getting all important details and information from the product description as well.