There is no shortage of ways for organizations to interact with customers today and, moving forward, there will be even more. Application leaders supporting customer experience will need to identify and prioritize the next best channels for engaging customers of today and of the future.
The retail industry is constantly evolving. Ever since the arrival of the internet, the old way of doing things has been shaken up, and retail is now changing at a rapid pace.
However, despite a lot of talk about doom and gloom, the “death” of retail, and fears that online marketplaces like Amazon will completely take over, this hasn’t come about. The truth is that things are not looking too grim. According to the National Retail Federation, in July 2017 retail sales were up 4.2% on the previous year, and 42% of brands are opening new stores.
But retail is evolving as consumer habits change, and retailers need to stay up-to-date to keep up with the times. Especially important is the rise of the millennial and Gen Z shopper, and retail is having to adapt to meet the evolving purchase pattern of young shoppers.
Here’s a look at how retail is changing and what you need to know to avoid getting left behind.
Greater Focus on Personalization
Brands are now expected to provide more personalized experiences for their customers, and this is partly because of the services offered by Netflix, Spotify, and the like. The large brands provide personal experiences and recommendations based on individual behavior—and they’re getting better all the time.
Customers are becoming used to the experience provided by these internet giants, and they want the same from other businesses, meaning personalization is an area you cannot ignore any longer.
The Rise of Frictionless Shopping
Frictionless shopping is the concept of connecting buyers and sellers seamlessly and providing shoppers with more control over their purchases, whether comparing products online or buying with a single click.
To provide a frictionless shopping experience, businesses must get rid of anything that does not improve the experience for their customers, taking out the hassle and providing services like click-and-collect or improving the mobile website to provide a more engaging experience.
Customers want things to be easier, especially in this age of mobile shopping. By making the experience as simple as possible, retailers can win new customers by providing exactly what they want.
The Need to Cater to Millennials and Gen Z
Retailers must now understand how millennials and Gen Z consumers shop in order to cater to them. Their behavior is different to older customers in many ways. For example, Gen Z care more about the experience than the price. While other generations look for the deal, Gen Z is willing to pay for a better experience.
Millennials love the convenience of using their mobiles to do everything, making it increasingly important to offer better payment experiences and digital payment options. As a result, it is imperative that companies use responsive design to provide a fantastic mobile experience.
More companies are also creating omnichannel experiences that delight younger consumers. Millennials and Gen Z consumers often use multiple devices before making a purchase. You, therefore, need to take a more holistic approach rather than focusing on the experience on just mobile or just desktop. Check out some examples of effective omnichannel experiences to get inspiration.
Another way that retail is changing is through increased use of conversational UX. Chatbots and voice bots are quickly becoming commonplace as technology improves, and many shoppers are becoming increasingly used to “talking” with bots.
Bots have obvious benefits for businesses, which can use them to automate processes and save time dealing with simple customer questions and transactional details. But they also provide benefits for customers who can get instant responses to their questions without having to wait for a human to get back to them.
Retailers Need to Keep Up
As younger shoppers become increasingly important to businesses, it is becoming increasingly important for retailers to keep up with how they shop. Retail will continue to evolve, and successful businesses that understand this and keep up with the changes are the ones that will prosper.
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