Can Technology Stop the Retail Apocalypse?
In recent years, many major retailers have had to close their doors after eCommerce competitors took over too much of the market share – such as that giant Amazon.com. In fact, according to the U.S Department of Commerce, Jeff Bezos company currently controls 40% of all online commerce.
With such market dominance, how can retailers stop or slow down the rapid progression of eCommerce giants? In order to climb or eclipse any mountain, it’s vital to first establish a roadmap and plan of attack. Such is the case with dealing with the potential retail apocalypse.
If you want your company to survive the retail apocalypse, there are two elements that must be improved – the customer experience and brand reputation.
How Your Business Can Survive the Retail Apocalypse
While facts such as the ones mentioned above strike terror into many retailers’ hearts, it doesn’t mean that you must fall victim to this trend. Recently, a market research firm known as CB Insights took an in-depth look at the current state of retail and outlined some of the trends and technologies that retail businesses can use to not only avoid this fate but even grow and expand further.
Below are a few new approaches beyond traditional brick-and-mortar approaches that are working in today’s technology-based market environment, allowing smart retailers to grow and open more stores rather than having to close down stores or file for bankruptcy.
Use Technology to Enhance Customer Experience
Big box retailers such as Ikea and Best Buy are leveraging several new strategies and technologies to remain relevant to their customers. For instance, Best Buy is beginning to offer free in-home consultation services for technology devices and equipment, and Ikea owns a mobile app company called Task Rabbit that allows consumers to find people offering furniture assembly as a service.
The blending of technology and in-store service is trendsetting for consumers and makes retailers like this more than just brick-and-mortar stores.
Invest in Automation
It is quite evident that automation is critical to the supply chain operations of today. Smart retailers and shippers realize that using automation with their transportation management systems and warehouse management systems helps make things more efficient.
For example, setting up order and fulfillment solutions that allow customers to make last-second changes to their orders, you can guarantee on-time delivery.
Delivery Status Updates
All customers have different preferences for how they receive delivery status updates. Some prefer text messages, while others prefer email or phone calls. A trend that is growing among shippers is to increase customer communication.
For example, many shippers are starting to update recipients on the status of their order fulfillment via text updates such as when products have been shipped, when they are out for delivery, and when they have been delivered.
Another growing trend amongst delivery companies is optimizing deliveries and performance by implementing route management solutions. These types of solutions are SaaS (Software as a Solution) that allow carriers to review their pickup and delivery routes, make changes to their routes, and review how these changes affect performance.
These metrics are crucial and valuable for delivery companies to not only further optimize their routes but to serve customers better and more efficiently as well.
The Importance of Reputation
At the end of the day, brand reputation is what ultimately will determine whether or not retailers survive the retail apocalypse. Brands known for innovation and providing a great customer experience will continue to retain previous customers and attract new customers, while those who refuse to adapt and make changes will fail.
Most consumers today look up businesses online before they decide to purchase products from them. Thus, it’s essential to work on your business’ online presence. Here are a few questions to consider.
- Is your store’s location and website easy to locate?
- Is all the information about your business on Google accurate?
- Do you have reliable reviews from consumers that accurately reflect your products/services?
- Are customers leaving positive feedback about your business on social media channels?
Your answers to these questions will ultimately determine how consumers perceive your brand. If you stay on top of these things, you can not only survive the retail apocalypse but thrive.