Top eCommerce trends for retail
Digitally-driven changes like social shopping and mCommerce are just the tip of the iceberg this year.
The CommBank 2015 retail Insights report says "the digital revolution is only just beginning" and there is "ample time for late adopters to get ahead of the curve." And so they should. In the same report, it's forecast that online sales will reach an average of nearly 40% of sales by 2020.
So, we know that eCommerce will continue to be game-changer. What are the other hot predictions for the year ahead? How can you, as a retailer, step up your game to keep pace with consumers' ever-changing behaviours?
Here we explore the top trends for retail.
Full integration across all channels
Every customer interaction – whether in-store, online, call centre, mobile or social – will be captured via an integrated technology platform. With all channels integrated, you'll be in a much better position to enhance the customer experience and boost engagement. Armed with all the data you capture, personalisation of customer offers will become even more targeted.
High-tech changes in store
Your bricks and mortar store will become a high-tech, interactive experience – in a subtle way, if that's what your brand calls for.
Beacons will be commonplace, pushing offers to customers' smartphones. Face detectors may be used to track and analyse shopper behaviours. And augmented reality will bring your products to life in bold new ways.
Real-time inventory visibility
Given the explosion of eCommerce and the indisputable fact that consumers are firmly entrenched in omnichannel retail buying behaviour, you need to know exactly what's going on with your stock.
The right inventory management software will do this – and while it may seem like a significant investment to update software and procedures, it will certainly pay off as you gain better visibility into your stock levels.
Click & Collect as a standard
In 2015, Click & Collect lost its buzzword status and became a standard offering. So this year, every retailer who values faster and more convenient shopping for their customers will be offering it.
If you're a pureplay online store, you could offer collection at Parcel Lockers* or Post Offices. It's all about making it as easy as possible for customers to receive their goods.
Millennials call the shots
The group born between the early '80s and 2000 are online almost constantly, and their wallet size is increasing year on year.Given their increasing propensity to spend, these shoppers are redefining retail and offering new insights into purchasing transactions. Think instant gratification ('I like free stuff'), simple order fulfilment ('don't waste my time'), transparency on price ('I've done my research') and peer influence ('I'll share what I know').
Quirky or clever stand-outs
What makes you different to Amazon? If you've got an online presence, it's time to think laterally.
Smart retailers will be introducing value-added services that make them stand out from the crowd. It might be a mobile concierge service for your loyal shoppers, personal stylists for indecisive shoppers, or highly personalised shopping catalogues for the 'window shoppers'.
The Internet of Things
From the supply chain to in-store experiences, the IoT will revolutionise retail. It's all about using data to improve the consumer experience.
With the IoT, for example, you can track products through their lifecycle. You can respond smarter and faster to consumer queries. You can monitor shopper behaviour and change up your staff resources accordingly. With everything connected and rich insights at your fingertips, you'll be making much smarter business decisions.
While mCommerce only came to light in 2015, it's still an emerging trend. Last year, mCommerce accounted for only 9% of online purchases globally, but it's growing at a rapid rate – expected to reach $8.8 billion in 20161.
You need to stay at the front of the curve when it comes to mobile, which means getting your mobile responsive website right, introducing relevant apps for different consumer journeys, and ensuring that mobile ties in seamlessly with other channel experiences.