It’s an exciting time in retail with both online and offline commerce opportunities seemingly endless. From advancements in how consumers pay for their choice of purchases, to opportunities to strengthen deliveries of online orders, to in-store retail becoming more engaging thanks to customer demands, retailers have a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. The catch? They must embrace the evolving landscape of retail in order to optimize their opportunities to profit from in the year ahead. To help, consider these three ways ecommerce and traditional merchants alike can refresh their businesses in 2019 and beyond.
#1. Payments Need to Look Beyond the Expected.
A 2018 study by CreditCards.com identified that debit cards led the preferred form of payment by most consumers (44%) followed by credit cards at 33%. Additionally, this same study revealed that mobile payment options – such as Apple Pay – are only accepted by 25% of small businesses and 56% of larger businesses. Yet, the demand for change is evident thanks to the popular rise of installment paying, such as that offered by Afterpay, which we saw grow tremendously in 2018.
Afterpay, an updated version of layaway that lets shoppers get their purchases right away yet pay in four payments with no interest applied, has particularly seen success among the Millennial consumer audience. Essentially, this payment option provides an avenue to reduce sticker shock to consumers while allowing brands and retailers to capture dollars from consumers who fear credit cards or prefer to make purchases without interest attached to their spending. An added benefit? Installment payments also benefit the desire for immediate gratification – which any shopper and business can appreciate.
#2. Retailers of All Sizes Must Finally Embrace Technology.
Whether you consider yourself a small retailer, a mid-size merchant or booming big-box brand, technology can empower your business more so than ever before. Fortunately, there are an abundance of tech solutions available for merchants to choose from – yet unfortunately, it’s not always easy to identify what may make sense for each unique commerce business. ASD Market Week helps clarify this challenge by bringing many of the industry’s leading technology empowered companies to their show floors, including companies such as Lightspeed POS and Yelp which will be a part of the Independent Retailer Conference held at ASD Market Week this upcoming March 17-20, 2019.
"Technology can empower your business more so than ever before"
Incorporating technology into commerce strategies, retailers can be more proactive and precise in their store planning efforts thanks to valuable, real-time data collected via these systems. With valuable data delivered to bring clarity to businesses on everything from consumer spending patterns to inventory turn around to bounce rates via ecommerce shopping carts and more, it's critical for merchants to welcome technology into their store strategies in order to gain stronger retail success. As 2019 moves ahead, identifying the right technology to empower your unique business should top your to-do list.
#3. Frictionless Shopping and Flexible Consumer Journeys Are Expected.
A report by Deloitte Digital identified that being “agile, flexible, fluid and interactive” should be a priority for merchants looking to embrace the modern consumer. Keeping this in mind, it’s critical for retailers to create shopping experiences that seamlessly blend from one destination to another. In other words, whether your customer begins their shopping journey on your social media site, via an e-commerce site or starts in a traditional storefront, your branding, your communication, your marketing, your inventory and even your customer service experiences must overlap seamlessly in an effort to keep consumer attention.
The reality is customers are easily distracted – but the touchpoints of your business should not be what distracts them. If you’re truly looking to strengthen your retail experiences in 2019, be sure that every touchpoint of your brand is in sync. This means creating an omnichannel experience for your brand versus multi-channel – once again using technology to tie all the dots of your business together.
Finally, as you aim to make 2019 your best retail year yet, also aim to make inventory among your top priorities. By incorporating high-margin products into your product assortment, you will be better positioned to strengthen your profit and optimize your retail success. Discover high-margin products to help boost your sales by attending ASD Market Week this upcoming March 17-20, 2019 in Las Vegas. Learn more here.
Post by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle of RetailMinded.com.