In a fast-paced business environment complicated by rapid changes and innovations, savvy retailers should think strategically and keep a keen eye on their administrations, operations and investments if they must stay ahead of their counterparts.
And while the different retail stores i.e., department stores, direct-to-consumer shops and chain stores may have different changing needs to deal with, these questions should apply to all.
1. Do I have enough stores, and are they strategically located?
According to Coresight Research, US retailers publicized 6,105 store closures and 2,658 store launches this year.
That’s why you can never ignore the significance of physical stores, no matter how perfect your online presence is. For digital-first retailers a showroom, may work, but many other industries will in the near future concentrate efforts in building brick-and-mortar establishments.
About the best locations in the US; it only went down to how much revenue the stores raked in.
“Today, stores are just a room where shoppers buy products,” says Mortimer Singer, CEO of the business consultancy company Traub. “It’s is more of a billboard. A brand equity and a platform to present your business case or story.
Plus, these stores drive buyers and passersby to check you online presence so retailers must treat all these different platforms as an integrated channel. And not try to handle retail, wholesale, e-commerce and as separate channels.” Says Singer.
“There’s no need to overcommit to multiple stores located in potentially unproductive zones,” said Jeremy Bergstein, CEO of The Science Project.
Start thinking of retail as the stages in the in the shoppers’ journey where they meet and get to know your brand. It could be anywhere; a store, an outdoor event, or it could be online.
2. How smooth is my mobile shopping experience?
A frictionless mobile shopping adventure works for today’s shopper. Today, this channel makes up for more than half of all web-based sales, according to eMarketer, and that share could go up to almost three-quarters by 2021.
Perfect the shopper’s mobile journey from product search, to checkout, to the very-significant page loading speed. Google research reported that over half of buyers who visit via mobile abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to show results or load.
“It’s little details that make or break a buyer’s shopping experience.” No customer wants to click on a product they want to add to cart only to end up in an error page.” Says Singer.
3. Do I have the correct infrastructure to catch up with the customer’s speed?
You must meet customer expectations to drive more sales to your site. But you need the right tech to keep with these everchanging customer demands.
The secret to this is to build infrastructure from the ground up. That way, you can remain flexible and have room for upgrades. If you don’t have integrated systems for inventory and CRM, for instance, a repeat shopper could walk into your store and all of a sudden; the systems fail to identify them.
Brands are now thinking a buy online, pick in store strategy to smooth the experience for shoppers and make global brands locally available.
4. Is my business ethical and sustainable — and are my customers aware?
According to Cone Communications, a whole 94% of all industry players feel that businesses should play a role in social and environmental matters compared to 87% of millennials.
“In a decade or so, you won’t be able to sell if you can’t prove that your products are authentic and harmless to the environment or the people around you,” said Singer.
Build trust by making announcements through social media sites. Assure customers of quality and safe products and make it public that your brand is 100% straightforward.
Author bio: As the FAM account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using merchant funding solutions. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has made him finance expert at First American Merchant.