Retail 3.0: The Retail Renaissance

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We keep hearing about the retail apocalypse and how retail is dead with no solutions being provided how to overhaul it. At ShipEarly, we like solving these problems. Without a doubt retail is evolving, here are the changes taking shape for your company to prepare for the new realities of retail to meet modern consumer expectations.

Embrace Showrooming

Retailers should stop dabbling in online sales and focus back on their biggest asset… the store. The fear of consumers coming in with mobile devices to place an order on Amazon or with the manufacturer will be over. Consumers will come and be edutained (education & entertainment) about new products or brands with personalized service and get this… Will be encouraged to place orders online in the store. Brands are building online infrastructure that their retail partners can leverage letting retailers focus on creating better in-store experiences. There will be sales attribution to retail locations tied to displaying and store associates selling products to consumers. As opposed to being warehouses stocked with products, retailers will become showrooms, service locations, and provide solutions to consumers with on demand delivery and free local returns/exchanges.

Increasing Importance of Sales Associates

Minimum wage stores associates will be a thing of the past. Consumers expect personalized and professional service above and beyond what a stock boy or cashier can provide. These low level jobs will be eliminated as store associates armed with mobile checkouts will have more knowledge about the products and their features at their fingertips. Consumers will eventually realize their friends on Facebook or an Internet review might not know as much as someone who helps guide consumers to make the right choice everyday as a career as opposed to a part-time job.

Store owners will realize they cannot squander sales opportunities with staff consumers have no interest in interacting with. Unfriendly, unknowledgeable, task defined roles at retail will be dead, if they aren’t already. Brand and product experts empowered with technology to nurture consumer relationships with will be paramount to repeat store visits.

Radical Store Monetization Changes

The way in which retailers are compensated will change. Retailers are starting to realize their stores are being used as showrooms, but being asked to place wholesale orders with the brands they carry to become an authorized retailer. Retailers will begin to wise up to competing with the brands they stock. Instead they will offer dedicated showroom floor space with sales associate support otherwise known as ‘Retail as a Service’ for a monthly fee depending on location and sales activity/impressions generated. Stores will get commissions on orders plus a monthly fee instead of their regular margins.

Consumer Voice to Play a Larger Role

Amazon Alexa and Google Voice are two technologies that are just starting to hit their stride. Voice ordering for select fast moving and repeatable categories without a visual will become a mainstay. When in-store, sales associates devices will always be listening to consumers to make product recommendations in real-time to improve closure rates.

Greater Collaboration Between Brands & Retailers

Rather than trying to get the better of one another splitting margins, brands and retailers operating on a different structure will thrive and become more open as to how they can help each other out. Retail partners will become experience centers for brands to draw in an audience to connect with the brand’s they display. Retailers will not be involved in product assortment selection as brands will have more data about what consumers want in the local market. The store within a store concept will thrive and mean less brands carried overall in a store but more dedicated support from sales teams to learn and sell them. This will lead to greater competition for retail floor space. Services will become more integral to product sales as consumers want their product supported before and after the purchase. Brands will be able to track how many people tried their products in-store with real-time analytics.

Changing the way business is done is no easy task, but increasingly becoming necessary. In order to get to these changes retail as we know it needs to go through a radical shift in the way we think.The store is still King and key to consumer engagement that exposes brands latest products to consumers and is a marketplace that introduces new products to keep people coming back.The stores that adapt and are open to new brands and business models will be in very high demand. These next generation retailers will become a hub of activity for consumers and a place where brands want to be discovered.

Retail 3.0: The Retail Renaissance

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