Time to Reinvent
Forward-looking retailers are embracing opportunities offered by changes in demographics and changing consumer behaviors driven by mushrooming digitalization and eCommerce. As North America and Europe observe an upswing in mobile interest and multi-channel marketing – retailers have no choice but to reinvent how they communicate with consumers.1
As instantaneous transparency on pricing, availability, consumer feedback and product information is now accessible within a few clicks on a smartphone, retailers will need to implement new touch points and reasons for engagement with customers.1 The “we’ve got the best price” promise doesn’t cut it anymore. Retailers need to convey that they really do care about their customers – they listen, take appropriate action, share common core values – and stand by their products and customer service promises unequivocally. But it goes a lot deeper than this.
Retail analytics anticipate a major shift in the retailing model with major implications to the future of stores. Virtual presence will be taking precedence over physical presence and stores of tomorrow will be points of engagement. Monotonous purchases will become fully automated and any touchpoint or space will become a place of commerce, for customers to always remember the experience.4
Promoting Digital Technologies
Bay Cities has been at the forefront of this wave of change by promoting packaging personalization solutions and AR-assisted in-store displays in support of this refreshing retail wave of change. The good news for retailers is that as they meet growth demands in digital communication, they will remain the most important contact point with consumers in 2020 and beyond. To tribute the strength of a brick and mortar presence, typically online brands are setting up physical storefronts for real-time, in-person engagement with customers.
As retailers reinvent the customer journey and get to know their shoppers better, they have an “unprecedented opportunity to go a step further and leverage data-driven and digital technologies to elevate the customer experience in more meaningful ways. From creating new products, to delivering specialized campaigns, machine learning, analytics and other technologies are empowering brands and retailers to understand their shoppers better and deliver differentiated 1:1 experience,” writes Shelley Bransten, Corporate VP of Global Retail & Consumer Goods at Microsoft.2
End-to-End Retail Experience
In the past, shopping was a singular activity conducted at a specific destination. Now, we can shop on any device 24/7. This has created an opportunity for creative innovation in the journey from warehouse to customer, to the customer’s unboxing experience and to other touch opportunities provided by packaging and digital interactions during and after the purchase.
A Microsoft study emphasizes that each phase of the end-to-end retail experience—starting with production and continuing into sales and repurchase—now has the opportunity to be consumer-first and personalized. It asserts, “Every aspect of retail operations has the potential to make or break the customer experience with data driving a new retail model that centers around the products and services their customers crave by providing better marketing, service and product opportunities.”2
Microsoft has a collaboration with Walmart dedicated to consumer-focused retailing. Where Bay Cities provides a wide range of POP displays and packaging solutions to Walmart, Walmart has tapped into Microsoft’s full range of cloud solutions to reimagine retail for the customer. Microsoft’s Austin-based tech hub aims to accelerate digital innovation focused on leveraging data throughout the entire shopping journey to not only drive higher transactions and more valuable conversions, but nurture long-term loyalty through better customer experiences and more traffic.2
“Today’s shoppers prioritize exceptional customer experience. They’re willing to provide their data to companies but expect a higher quality experience in return. For retailers and their brands, this means delivering on the promise of personalization, expert service, always-available inventory and seamless cross-channel shopping. By enabling differentiated shopping journeys, customers can also feel that their relationships with brand and retailers is authentic,” according to the Microsoft study.2
The study provides other important data points, namely, “70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty, and 69% say the same of personalized customer care.” It also cites Salesforce data that claims “91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.” 2
The Future of Retail
In an age of migration from Amazon, brick and mortar retailers have evolved away to create their own online storefronts – offering fast and/or free shipping, in-store pick-up – making good on disjoined channel connectivity, writes Risecom.com.3
The writing is on the wall for retailers who want to thrive – or at least remain relevant – in 2020 and beyond. Retailers such as Sears, Kmart, Payless Shoesource, Barneys, Party City, Gymboree, Dress Barn and Charlotte Russe—may not have all gone out of business completely, but, most have significantly decreased their real estate footprint or number of doors. Conversely, commercial real estate is thriving with no shortage of outdoor walking malls, new office buildings with first-floor retail and trendy storefronts.3
A transcript from analysts Frost & Sullivan, of a webinar on January 23, 2020 entitled “The Four ‘P’s of the Future of Retail” discussed the future of retail across four distinct segments:
- Person – Gen Alpha as the new wave of “digital native” influencers and future customers
- Place – Reinvention of physical retail as a point of engagement from a small box to a “novel” box.
- Points – Advent of new points of commerce such as in-vehicle commerce.
- Process – Advances in technology such as AI, automation, and AR/VR disrupting the prevailing retail process.
- “Trends in Retail 2020 Executive Summary” (KMPG): https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2013/12/trends-retail-2020-executive-summary-2013-kpmg.pdf
- “Retail Trends Playbook 2020 Creating A Data-Driven, Intelligent Retail Model” (PSFK/Microsoft): https://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-eBook-RetailTrendsPlaybook2020.pdf
- “Top Retail Technology Trends to Watch in 2020” (Justin Honaman, Risenews.com)
- “Frost & Sullivan Reveals the 4 ‘P’s and Top Technologies of Retail for 2020” https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/frost–sullivan-reveals-the-4-ps-and-top-technologies-of-retail-for-2020-300985733.html
View video: http://frost.ly/3xk.