It is more than clear that digitization changed the whole retail world and customers’ expectations. The numbers speak for themselves – digital is going to stay! But what does that mean for businesses who sell their products through physical stores? How can retailers adapt?
“The only way for companies to survive is to constantly adapt to new conditions and evolving consumer demands. Fear of digitization is simply a means of ensuring failure, as it’s a fact that customers now want multiple sales channels, including online. ‘Death by inertia’ is not inevitable – all retailers need to do is embrace change, and go digital.”
— Alexander Graf, Co-CEO of Spryker
What consumers want and expect from today’s shopping experience in-store or online is flexibility and convenience – businesses should acknowledge, as well as understand that fact. A Harvard Business Review’s consumer survey showed that 73% of retail customers nowadays use multiple channels during their shopping journey. So adding a web store and mobile app for shopping-on-the-go to your physical store and offering a seamless integration is the first step in the right direction and the only way to keep your customers’ desire for your business and products.
The massive spike in digital sales during the pandemic put a further dent in physical revenue. However, the fact remains that e-commerce still only accounts for around 20% of all total retail sales and there are customers still preferring the in-store shopping experience despite corona restrictions. All signs point to a hybrid online and offline shopping experience being the path to future success. The retailers who can successfully provide their customers with both are guaranteed to ride the digital wave no matter which way it turns.
In order to take your hybrid business to the next level, having a single e-commerce platform that controls all these channels and their associated technologies is the most efficient way to ensure that the customer journey is as frictionless as possible. Unified Commerce allows easy internal management by interconnecting systems such as sales, customer relationship management, inventory, and so on. Moreover, it creates a centralized system to collect data about your customer’s movements at every point-of-sale, be it digital or physical, allowing you to identify and react to pain points in real-time.
To be clear: The key to success isn’t only going online or hybrid, but to follow the consumers needs. Start by integrating your online channels with your offline ones. Then seal the deal by making the customer journey between them as smooth as possible through a Unified Commerce strategy.
Download the full handout “Should Retailers Fear Cannibalization From Digitization?” here.