Three Key Measures For Traditional Retailers to Cope with the E-Commerce Disruption
By Ahmed Althaqaby, Communications Manager at EFG Hermes.
By EFG Hermes Media
The speed of the digital age is not that compliant with the idea of “brick and mortar retail”. However, retail outlets are starting to spend on digital innovations to keep up with the growing giant that is e-commerce. Whether it is AI, machine learning or voice search, many retailers are starting to “digitize” their offline presence.
There are three key steps for retailers:
Start with the best “Offline” shopping experience
Customers shop online because it is easy, fast, immersive and accessible anytime, anywhere. They can find anything they are looking for, and related accessories in a few seconds. For example, they could add an iPhone to their cart and see an indicator that shows them what customers also bought: Air Pods, wireless chargers or top-selling covers for example.
In an offline store, the best bet is to put in place a fast, convenient and easy shopping experience with customized suggestions. Never forget that shoppers still enjoy shopping as an activity that induces endorphins, not just as a convenient way to acquire goods. Merge the best of both worlds: offline’s enjoyable experience infused in the online’s fast-paced and convenient experience.
Retailers need to have an e-commerce website that has the best “listening” tools to track consumer behaviour, their shopping statistics, what they browse and in what order. Not only should retailers rely on “in-site” behavioural tracking; they should also track what their clients and potential clients are searching for in the public domain through tools such as “AnswerTheWeb”, “Google Trends” and others.
Retail stores should be stocked with what clients want, in the order they want it. It is crucial to rely on data not just assumptions made by retail merchandisers, a vocation traditionally renowned for sensing and stocking retail outlets with what they believe customers want. This takes us to the next point.
Invest in digitally savvy talent
In an age where competing on digital is a chief priority, retailers must ensure their investments in talent are aligned. This certainly pertains to store associates, customer service teams, digital marketing, and other key contributors, who will need to gain fluency in technology and tools to delight their customers. In other words, to deliver the best to customers, retailers will need to focus on infusing life style enabling solutions with cutting edge technology offering the convenient and tailor made solutions.,
This brings to light one of the most important talent questions for retailers that relates to management: is the management an advocate of change?
Today’s digital environment means that the retail C-suite must complement traditional skill sets such as merchandising and store networking with technology in mind, in order to continue to meet the needs of customers when it comes to managing traditional retail outlets.
The importance of employee networking, retail connectivity to other branches and to e-commerce lies not only in providing a fast, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience – but also lies in facilitating and fostering a culture of knowledge transfer and making sure that any merchandize in demand right now and in the future are readily available.
Although e-commerce started a wave of disruption with the likes of Amazon becoming the world’s leading retailer, opportunities will arise for one of the world’s oldest industries – only if retailers merge the best of both progressive and traditional know how.