Just like any niche, retail businesses are constantly changing according to the progress of technology. Advances in recent years have raised the bar, and meant that if you’re not offering a seamless shopping experience to customers across all channels, you’ll quickly fall behind the competition. In this post, we’ll look at some of the trends that are changing the face of retail, and how businesses need to adopt to them.
Today, it’s not enough for a retail outlet to set themselves up with an online platform in order to boost their sales figures. Customers are expecting a much more streamlined, one-stop shopping experience. This is what’s known as cross-channel trade, as opposed to multi-channel, where the business has an online-only sales platform completely distinct from their stationary, physical store. This trend is already huge, and it’s only going to grow in the future. For example, more and more consumers are expecting retailers with an online platform to have all the same products in their physical outlets. There’s been a considerable increase in customers who will browse the web for a product, but ultimately buy it on-site in a store. Your target market wants a seamless link between your online and offline store – make sure you’re giving it to them!
Tech Is Making Financing Easier
Purchasing retail products on finance is now more commonplace and accessible than it’s ever been before. However, progress is still very slow in this lucrative niche, and these days only 11% of retail sales are made through financing. This is partly due to the amount of regulations and requirements covering data which have put pressure on the primary lender space. However, advances in technology and accessibility to these modern tools are growing all the time. While purchasing things on credit now requires a lengthy sales conversation and a lot of forms, emerging tech tools are making the process so much easier. Soon, retailers will have greater access to data which can be made available to customers, and communication channels which will allow them to reach out to multiple lenders. The first businesses to adopt this tech will have a considerable edge on their closest competitors.
Consumers Want a Better In-Store Experience
The online retail arena certainly isn’t going to disappear any time soon, but more and more customers are taking the time to go in-store, looking for advice and a more unique buying experience. With this in mind, you need to appeal to all the senses of the modern customer, and offer them some tangible, extra value to choosing your business. Local retailers, especially smaller ones, benefit a lot by offering more than a product. Because the internet is so accessible, the knowledge of your sales staff really isn’t going to offer your customers anything new. Instead, you should look for ways in which to integrate certain services into your physical outlets. For example, a shoe store could offer extended warranties or on-site repairs.
Keep an eye on these trends, make sure your retail business adapts, and you’ll step into the future seamlessly.