Physical stores must adapt as e-commerce expands. As a result, there is no longer any friction between media and retailers. If you go back 25 or 30 years, the shortage of products and brands was the most significant issue for customers.
It was very uncommon for people to live in locations where specific brands and even product categories were unavailable. They had to travel somewhere else to get their supplies.
So here we are, 25 years later, and scarcity is no longer a concern. We, as customers, have an abundance problem. It’s the sheer number of options available to us. As a result, you should be aware that all of these options are now at my fingertips in the shape of my mobile device.
We all can access whatever we want in a day may be less than 12 hours sometimes. So, you know, we don’t need actual stores.
We’re seeing several companies shrinking or shutting stores to minimize their network and increase productivity. More optimistically, as e-commerce increases, traditional stores will have to alter. So, as retailers, we must ask ourselves, what is the value of having all these storefronts in a world where every media piece is now a store?
Retailers must shift their focus away from seeing their stores as just product distribution channels and seeing them as vehicles for disseminating experiences. Experiments with physical media And, if done correctly, such encounters may serve as a spark. They act as catalysts, drawing customers into the brand ecosystem and encouraging cross-channel shopping.
People were increasingly compelled to rely on the internet to acquire their retail dopamine rushes during the lockdown. In fact, more than 4 trillion was spent buying things online in 2020 than the year before, indicating that shopping is undergoing a significant transformation.
Online Retail’s Future
Three massive corporations dominate the scene. Alibaba.com and its affiliates control over 80% of the market. Then there’s the matter of the Chinese market. What’s fascinating is that, although we have Google for search and Facebook for social media, we also have Amazon for e-commerce and PayPal for payments.
However, they’ve combined everything into a single organization, creating complete ecosystems where many Chinese customers spend their entire lives.
Demand Forecasting and Shaping
These mega app ecosystems provide businesses with in-depth knowledge about their customers’ desires and buy. Of course, all of this necessitates a massive amount of data, and the Chinese are far more eager than many people in the West to accept data surveillance of everything they do at this time.
Retailers may increase their margins and reduce waste if they better understand client wants. Some Chinese tech companies even utilize digital footprints to influence how items are created, known as the consumer to manufacturer.
That effectively removes even the brands from the objective. In other words, manufacturers will begin engaging directly with customers and, as a result, will be able to flex their production capacity in response to consumer demand.
Western retailers have been playing catch-up for years, resting on their laurels regarding the internet as a secondary to the shop, maybe aided by their investing in in-store space. For example, America has 2.2 square meters of retail space for every person, six times that of China.
Big Data on Customers
Western merchants, on the other hand, wasted a significant opportunity. Their clients have a lot of information. Historically, retailers had relatively little information on their customers. All used to be that they had shop credit cards, but that was it. However, internet businesses have vast volumes of information on their clients.
Merchants and conventional brands were entirely in the dark, which is why internet startups could outperform incumbent retailers and brands. For the most part, the pandemic proved a death knell for numerous brands during the previous 20 years.
Thousands of storefronts were shuttered by big-box retailers in the United States in 2020, but startups that harnessed the power of their customers’ data thrived.
In the latter three months of 2020, Amazon’s quarterly revenues surpassed $100 billion for the first time. Amazon, of course, wrote the book on individual consumer data and its applications, and as they became bigger and bigger, they wrote the book on it as well.
Nike, for example, is abandoning ties with Amazon in order to focus on direct-to-consumer sales. It made the decision to sell only online through the Nike website, and it devised methods for keeping a much closer eye on its clients.
The internet retail business and its limits are being impacted by rising worries about privacy and the abuse of personal data. Customers used to be required to demonstrate their allegiance to the business where they purchased their goods. These days, it’s up to the store to demonstrate their commitment to the customer, and that commitment includes safeguarding their data.
Retailers will have a greater understanding of their consumers’ behavior patterns and preferences and offer a safer mode of online payments. Some people may find this unsettling. However, one thing is sure: your data will undoubtedly fuel this retail revolution.
Direct-to-Consumer Selling via Social Media
Let’s look at the situation through an example. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows anybody to open a business online. Shopify wants to build an ecosystem that combines e-commerce and social networking.
They’re attempting to streamline all selling and marketing operations, making it simple to maintain a single centralized inventory and determine which products should be promoted at where. For example, if you see that Pinterest is driving visitors to your online store, they advise you to activate the Pinterest channel and send merchandise straight to Pinterest to better connect with that audience.
Seamless Delivery Demands
Expectations for delivery are also shifting. Consumers now prefer contactless returns or other delivery choices like curbside pickup or Click & Collect. Many shops are being pushed to innovate in delivery by these and other developments.
Some companies are turning low-traffic sites into high-volume fulfillment hubs by utilizing physical storefronts to fulfill more e-commerce orders. Others employ the dark store concept to transform low-traffic locations into high-volume fulfillment hubs.
The online retail business and how it is physically delivered and fulfilled in real life will continue to be reshaped by new and inventive means for rapid, free delivery.
There is retail all over the place. You need a terrific brick-and-mortar experience if you want to market to folks in their fifties and sixties. On the other hand, teenagers from Generation Z in their early twenties will be looking to buy stuff on Instagram. It indicates that the shop is still open. It would just be reinvented to offer a whole other sort of experience.
Benchmarking will be crucial in every aspect, from marketing to sales to delivery. What are the fastest-growing categories? Is the performance of your items as good as it might be? What are the most recent growth opportunities? Answering these and other vital questions may help brands and retailers remain on top of a rapidly changing online retail landscape.