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IREU Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

IREU Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

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What’s next in commerce?

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What’s next in commerce?
What’s next in commerce?
Wilfried Beeck, CEO of ePages, shares some of the findings of the recent Next in Commerce

research project that investigated the trends that will shake the industry in 2014.

IF THE customer is king and demands a new shopping experience to the past, the retail industry is forced to react. Adopting consumer-oriented innovations is far better than watching unsatisfied buyers moving away. But what are the options, practically speaking? Companies will have to evolve to omnichannel vendors, one of the trends which is identified by the Next in Commerce project. Understanding the customer journey is the basis. More and more customers begin searching product details on a desktop device, refine the results on the go via smartphone before they convince themselves in the brick and mortar shop, and then finally check out and pay at home, on a tablet for example. That means, they want to easily switch between channels and buy anywhere, but do not want to trigger channel conflicts.



SEAMLESS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE AND PRICE TRANSPARENCY

An idea for a seamless consumer experiencethat avoids unfaithful customers comes from SapientNitro . Their Connected Retail system has enabled a sportswear store to give online advice when buyers visit the shop’s website at home and includes a feature to make an appointment at the store. After confirming the appointment via a mobile app, customers can visit the store and continue receiving help from a virtual assistant they already know from their online research. However, the permanent availability of price comparison portals on smartphones remains a problem when customers browse through brick and mortar shops. Local competitors with an online branch and pure-play online companies are able to hijack sales with aggressive mobile strategies. Of those using their mobile when shopping in a store, 70% do so to look for a better price elsewhere, says Tradedoubler. Often enough the mobile comparison leads to purchases at rival retailers or in online shops via desktop or mobile, rather than in the store in question. Companies such as toy retailer Toys’R’Us are facing strong mobile competition by promoting price transparency. To prove that they can match the prices of their online competitors, Toys’R’ Us  wants to display the prices of their eleven biggest online competitors – including Walmart and BestBuy – next to products in their stores. When paying at the cash desk, customers pay the cheapest price available online. The downside is, by developing similar methods retailers are in danger of entering into a price war which is very hard to win.



SPEED RETAIL ACCELERATES BUYING DECISIONS

Another trend which is worth a look is speed retail. Mastering your target groups’ higher pace of life is essential for protecting and growing revenues. The challenge is to simplify purchasing processes, reduce the complexity of endless product portfolios and simultaneously speed up customers’ buying decisions. To reach these goals Daring Software’s application Arro, for example, reduces

portfolios with thousands of products to a top-5 list based on an analysis of all accessible online product data and ratings. PeeqPeeq brick and mortar shops. Local competitors with an online branch and pure-play online companies are able to hijack sales with aggressive mobile strategies. Of those using their mobile when shopping in a store, 70% do so to look for a better price elsewhere, says Tradedoubler. Often enough the mobile comparison leads to purchases at rival retailers or in online shops via desktop or mobile, rather than in the store in question. Companies such as toy retailer Toys’R’Us are facing strong mobile competition by promoting price transparency. To prove that they can match the prices of their online competitors, Toys’R’Us wants to display the prices of their eleven biggest online competitors – including Walmart and BestBuy – next to products in their stores. When paying at the cash desk, customers pay the cheapest price available online. The downside is, by developing similar methods retailers are in danger of entering into a price war which is very hard to win.



SPEED RETAIL ACCELERATES BUYING DECISIONS

Another trend which is worth a look is speed retail. Mastering your target groups’ higher pace of life is essential for protecting and growing revenues. The challenge is to simplify purchasing processes, reduce the complexity of endless product portfolios and simultaneously speed up customers’ buying decisions. To reach these goals Daring Software’s application Arro, for example, reduces portfolios with thousands of products to a top-5 list based on an analysis of all accessible online product data and ratings. PeeqPeeq is an app which extracts a digital shopping catalogue from all promotional emails that can be found in a user’s inbox. This gives users the opportunity to check out the deals on their smartphone or tablet at a more convenient time





 

Companies have to install fast communication processes and response options to take advantage of speed retail. Through alerts, set up by consumers, buying processes can even start at unexpected moments. Pinterest, for example, has integrated a feature that notifies users by email when the price of a pinned product falls. Through easy feedback possibilities even insurance products can become available on the go. Deutsche Telekom , the German telco company, launched an app portal called SureNow that enables people to use their smartphones to take out short-term insurance policies with a minimum validity of 24 hours. The first deals addressed skiers and snowboarders, and covered risks such as damage and theft of equipment or the rescue

costs after a possible accident.



NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR LOGISTICS AND RETURNS PROCESSES

While consumers enter into new shopping worlds, retailers keep on revolutionizing their processes through innovations for their logistics and returns processes. Products are being delivered to customers faster and faster, guaranteed undamaged and within a fixed time frame. In the UK, Cambridge Consultants has developed a cost-effective sensor system called DropTag in combination with a mobile app. A sensor mounted on the packet detects whether or not a package has been damaged during shipping. The sensor can be integrated in all stages of the logistics chain and sends real-time information on the condition of the package. A graph on the smartphone informs users if their package has been shaken or even dropped during the delivery process. Despite all progresses in logistics, returns will remain a challenge for retailers. In the future, avoiding returns already starts with the product presentation. With the use of webcams or live images from showrooms, companies help customers to find perfectly fitting products. The German home furnishings retailer Butlers has opened up a showroom that offers guided tours and personal online assistance via a webcam. Virtusize enables online shoppers to find the right sizes. Unlike services with standardized robots, Virtusize allows customers to type in the size of clothes they already own or to choose an item they have from a database. With ASOS , Virtusize already has a strong

partner from the UK



SNAP SHOTS AS AN ENTRY POINT DASHBOARD FOR SHOPPING TOURS

Visual commerce is a trend that definitely makes retail more emotional. Images serve to reduce the complexity in an informationoverloaded world and become an easily accessible source of inspiration for shopping tours. Smartphones with cameras, in combination with smart image recognition software, will soon form the basis for this new form of image-based digital commerce.





An example is the platform O SHa’Re. The technology behind it allows many of the individual objects in any uploaded photo to be recognised. This enables people to look for and find clothes that can be seen in a snap shot. All online merchants need to do is open their shops for image-based search queries by implementing special interfaces for visual commerce to serve customer demands quickly. These are just a snapshot of some of the 80 solutions from around the world, identified by ePages and its project partners [email protected] work and TrendONE. Aiming to demonstrate how simple, emotional and efficient shopping will become, the Next In Commerce project identified ten areas including Speed Retail, Bricks & Clicks, Visual Commerce and Data Based Business.

 

 

 
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Featured In
InternetRetailing Magazine - January 2014, Volume 8, Issue 2

InternetRetailing Magazine - January 2014, Volume 8, Issue 2

Featured In
InternetRetailing Magazine - January 2014, Volume 8, Issue 2

InternetRetailing Magazine - January 2014, Volume 8, Issue 2

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