By Sharon ManikonWith so much noise being made around innovation and changing consumer behaviour, it can be tempting for retailers to adopt innovative technology without laying the right foundations first. While there’s truth in the phrase ‘innovate to accelerate’; here are our thoughts on five ways to prepare for the fast-approaching future of retailing…
One: Fast, reliable and convenient payments are so hot right nowConsumer choice when it comes to spending is retail rule number one. We all know, as consumers ourselves, that we’d rather buy from a retailer that has multiple channels and accepts all major forms of payment. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy through whatever channels you’re on, with a consistent experience. We’re talking about click and collect, contactless and shops as connected showrooms – innovations which could be adopted throughout the consumer experience, regardless of sector. Think click and collect in restaurants, and things like apps which split bills for groups booking tickets or package holidays in the travel and entertainment sectors.
Two: Do you know where your customers live?Knowing that your target customer is female, aged 25-34, or male, aged 18-24 just isn’t enough anymore. How will you geo-target your marketing and exclusive events, or for that matter pick the right influencers, if you don’t know where your customers live? The goal is to bring customers exactly what they want, where they want it and in ways that makes them feel part of something bigger.
Three: Are you seeing double?Having two views of the same customer isn’t helpful. What is helpful is knowing shopper characteristics, information and habits offline and online. So that’s all about bringing together non-PII (personal identifiable information) - like what gadgets for the home they’ve most recently bought, with PII - like their name, gender and where they live. This single, complete view of each customer is crucial to effective marketing and omnichannel retailing strategies.
Four: Understand the value of experiencesResearch from Eventbrite shows that 78% of millennialsi; would rather spend money on an experience or event than something desirableii. Not only this, but temporary commerce (pop-up shops and festivals) is on the up and up. Since 2007, 574 new festivals have popped up and 3.7m people attended festivals in 2015iii. So they’re increasingly popular, but perhaps more interestingly for businesses, the live music and festivals market has a value of more than £2bn, and could rise as high as £3.5bn by 2020iv.
Five: Understand the value of expertsIf you don’t have the skills or time in-company to stay on top of everything from HR to payments to security and fraud, partnering with experts could be the way forward. It’s not realistic for every company to have experts in every area of business. For example, research from knowledge-sharing platform Zeqr found that 50% of businesses lack the essential digital skills - like social media and SEO - needed to growv. The same research found that businesses in the north east spent £29,900 on expert fees, compared to those in London, which spent £12,600. Whatever skills you need to outsource, make sure you pick the right partner.
Ready to take the next step on your business journey? Download our latest guide for retailers on how to meet consumer desire for experiences and their demand for frictionless payments.
i Defined here as anyone born between 1980 and 1996: http://hillsbalfour.com/blog/millennials-driving-the-experience-economy/ (April 2017)
ii http://hillsbalfour.com/blog/millennials-driving-the-experience-economy/ (April 2017)
iii http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/02/do-the-growing-number-of-music-festivals-actually-make-any-money/ (July 2016)
iv Mintel research, referenced here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/02/do-the-growing-number-of-music-festivals-actually-make-any-money/ (July 2016)
v http://smallbusiness.co.uk/uk-smes-expert-consultants-2538135/ (April 2017)