During the last decade, the retail sector has endured some of the most disruptive changes known in its history. The creation of online retail, changes in buying habits and COVID have all had a significant impact on the retail industry and in some cases have wiped out well-known retail brands, whilst others have clung on for dear life.
So how can retailers embrace the next decade to build a more sustainable and viable future for their businesses?
Embracing digital retail is the upmost priority and with COVID still ever present, using the internet to accept online orders has now offered a lifeline to retailers who are continuing to trade through the lockdown period and whilst their high street stores remain temporarily closed.
Assessing how to engage with customers is crucial in securing orders and keeping in touch. Offering seamless solutions across app stores, online websites, email marketing and social media, allows retail businesses to offer a consistent service and keep customers engaged. They only need to look at how Amazon keeps in touch with their customers to understand and acknowledge this!
How the retail sector can offer that extra level to online service
The process of online ordering removes some of our human senses such as voice and touch. Customers have been used to using these senses to make buying decisions for thousands of years. So how can digital retail provide these but in a different way?
- Creating wish lists – Apps and websites offer the ability to save for later or create a wish list. Consumers can sometimes spend month’s browsing for the right purchase for many different reasons, whether it be through making the right choice, a time constraint, or a financial reason. Offering the ability to save products to come back to later, means that when they are ready, the retailer is ready!
- Being tactile – As a digital customer you can’t always determine the quality, texture or colour of a fabric; sadly, digital removes this sense from our buying decision. If retailers can offer sample fabrics to enquiring customers, especially if they are considering buying much larger items like a sofa, then they are more likely to commit to the purchase, if they like the fabric.
- Staying in touch – There is in effect three parts to a purchase – considering a purchase / buying the product / delivering the product. All of which require thorough communication, from engaging with the customer in the initial stage to enticing them back if they have had a good experience. Keeping customers informed through the journey will help to build trust so that they will come straight back to the supplier next time around, before looking elsewhere.
- Digital Imaging – Uploading scans of the face or the body through a smartphone and then applying clothes, hair styles or make-up, allows customers the opportunity to see how they would look when applying the new purchase and helps them decide if they would like to buy. As digital technology becomes more advanced these types of methods for trying on clothes could become more popular.
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