The retail sector is experiencing digitalization of the retail store, but not always to the benefit of traditional outlets. Here are some key trends for 2015 and beyond.
According to a study by Precepta, e-commerce is booming. It accounts for 6% of household expenditure in 2014 and has growth potential estimated at 30% by 2018. As such, multi-channel and cross-channel strategies are emerging from distributors to integrate web-to-store gateways, connected stores, or mobile in-store. Yet the dynamism of online sales is far from taking precedence over the in-store experience. François Deschamps, in his article on ecommercemag.com, points that out:
The weight of traditional commerce remains dominant and the physical store has a definite place in a buyer’s journey that is at times becoming 100% online. Through the web, the performance of physical stores can also increase (especially given the web's massive audience) while consumers opt for a return to traditional values of commerce (service, proximity, advice, expertise...). Their ideal customer journey today is again centered on the store, which, more and more, will be connected to a consumer that is increasingly more technologically savvy, multi-connected, and who likes to stay in constant contact with the community.
Mobile is also becoming a significant channel for retail operations and the professionals that manage them.
"Mobile is a priority for 60% of retailers in 2015,"
remarked Mickaël Palvin, director of strategic planning for Publicis Shopper, in the introduction of the 7th Retail Shopper Club, organized by Publicis Shopper. The theme of "The Smartphone serving your business" questions the entire ecosystem of Retail.
"31 million French hold a smartphone and a connection to four others from this device. It is further known that mobile influences 25% of purchases and in three years, it will be 80%,"
reports Amelle Nebia in her article on e-marketing.fr. Brand strategies must, therefore, include mobile either through a mobile site or app.
The major trend in retail is to introduce technologies in the physical store that put the customer at the center. Jean-Bernard Della-Chiesa supports this idea in his article in the Journal du Net.
Recently, with the development of digital tools, brands are tending to forget the main reasons why a customer comes into the store rather than buying online... However, the seller remains in the best position to guide and convince the customer to buy, or to offer him or her another product, if the first choice is no longer available. Digitization has shifted. Retailer staff are increasingly mobile and connected. They have tablets and payment terminals allowing them to accompany customers throughout their buying journey within the store. A real added value compared to buying online!
An increasingly demanding consumer pushes retailers to upgrade the customer in-store experience. For that, executives and experts are re-examining their store concept and deploy new technology and formats more frequently with the objective of stirring consumer interest.
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