On line retail will almost double in five years

26 Mar 2014


Planet Retail recently did a global survey of 15, buy 000 consumers and has come up with six essential requirements needed to meet the demands and expectations of modern shoppers, ambulance particularly as far as on line sales are concerned.

With global online sales expected to grow by 184% to over the next five years, sick the channel is massively outperforming stores, which will see growth of 38%. However, as consumers shop the retailer not the channel, the two aren?t in competition. While terms such as omni-channel are meaningless to consumers – they just call it shopping – the demands and expectations being placed on retailers are intensifying.

Malcolm Pinkerton, E-commerce Research Director at Planet Retail commented: ?Retail has gone beyond store, mobile, tablet. Consumers are device and channel-agnostic, with consistent, joined up experiences becoming expected as the norm. However, terms such as multi-channel and omni-channel are meaningless to them. Although shopping has changed, the principles of retailing – great products, superior service and compelling curation ? remain. If retailers remain true to this, and adopt a customer-centric approach, they?ll be appeasing the needs of modern shoppers.?

1. Provide seamless online experiences

Planet Retail found that 33% of shoppers are likely to shop more online via tablets in the future, while 31% are likely to do so using mobiles. The importance of appeasing the needs of the increasingly device-agnostic shopper was hit home by the fact 31% of consumer choice of retailer is influenced by the provision of a website optimised for mobile and tablet devices. Regardless of device used to shop, 51% want the website to be easy to use with a quick and simple checkout process, compared to 39% wanting a website with lots of features and functionality. Consumers will shop in the most convenient way whenever and wherever they wish, switching between devices as appropriate. Failing to accommodate their needs risks losing them to rivals that can.

2. Empower smartphone users

Planet Retail discovered that 45% of consumers use their mobiles during their purchasing journey, and want to be able to use them as the ultimate shopping companion. The research revealed 53% of consumers want to use their mobiles to quickly and easily check prices when instore, while 35% want to be able to use them to order out-of-stock items instore for home delivery, and that 33% want to be able  to read peer reviews on their mobile when instore. Embracing showrooming and leveraging technology to facilitate it through catering for how consumer use smartphones to shop, interact and engage will lead to higher spend and greater loyalty.

3. Create a compelling instore environment

Planet Retail found that 20% of shoppers had engaged with a member of staff equipped with a tablet computer, while 19% had used an instore kiosk, 17% had placed on order through one, while 22% had used an interactive display. However, with 33% having accessed a retailer?s free instore Wi-Fi with their mobile or tablet, building solutions around the technology consumers already own might be a more cost-effective way of blending the channels than filling stores with self-service touchpoints. The future of stores hinges on their ability to serve customers across all channels, but technology can?t just be used for technology?s sake. Re-energising the store requires deploying technology that meets a need or solves a pain point to create engaging experiences.

4. Contextualised and personalised shopping

Planet Retail found shoppers want relevant, tailored experiences. 42% of consumer retailer choice is influenced by receiving personalised promotions. It was also discovered that 41% of consumers would like to receive real-time promotions when instore via their mobiles. Engaging consumers in relevant conversations at the right time in the right place creates greater brand advocacy. Personalising every touchpoint and contextualising experiences will drive loyalty and spend.

5. Social media can influence purchasing decisions

As consumers are utilising social media when making purchasing decisions, the shopper journey is now far more complex. With Planet Retail finding 39% of consumers taking information on social media into account when making purchasing decisions; 47% of consumer choice of retailer influenced by the ability to save and share products they?re interested in buying on social media, and 44% feeling social networks are a good source of peer reviews and recommendations, it is now vital for retailers to be able to engage consumers and influence their spending decisions throughout the path-to-purchase. Monetising social networks is about influencing purchasing behaviour and creating real brand advocates. In granting access to online content that is varied and compelling, retailers will be able to provide superior product information, encourage social sharing and create upselling opportunities.

6. Fulfilment capabilities are a competitive differentiator

Planet Retail found that 52% of consumer choice of retailer is influenced by same or next-day delivery. While 47% would be encouraged to choose a retailer offering instore collection, 56% would choose a retailer offering the ability to return unwanted items to their nearest store. Getting fulfilment wrong will see a detrimental impact on sales and brand advocacy. In the battle for online supremacy, providing choice, while shortening the distance and time between product and consumer, is essential.

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