The online retail space is constantly expanding. Retailers failing to keep up with it is either getting left behind or are becoming irrelevant. Case in point, the recent bankruptcy of Radio Shack, which once was considered a mecca of the technology fanatics. In the past 20 years, we have seen e-commerce industry metaphorically collapsing the shopping malls. However, the next technology advancements might not take that long. If truth be told, we might already be experiencing the next technology development, in the form of increasing number of shopping apps, product discovery platforms, and the social media platforms opening their platform to the small and medium level entrepreneurs.
“The future of retail is a smartphone.”
The sooner the retailers accept this fact, the better it will be for the survival of their business.
These technological disruptions have been happening in the world of retail for long and will continue to happen in the future as well. So, it is of utmost importance that the retailers adapt to these disruptive technologies to stay relevant, or else, face the risk of going extinct.
Hence, we thought we would chalk down some tips for our retailer friends out there to help them keep up with the technological disruptions happening around them. So, let’s get started
Mobile is modern shoppers’ best shopping partner
In today’s retail market, having a physical store is just not enough, even having a website or an online store is just not good enough, if you are looking to thrive. Physical stores stopped competing with online stores long ago. They are just supplementing them by providing an experience to the shoppers that the online stores can not. And while the online stores still dominate the majority of online sales, the mere notion of sitting in front of a computer for shopping has started to fade out with the increasing number of smartphone devices in the hands of the shoppers. Shoppers have started to migrate towards apps from websites, as they allow them to be mobile while they search for the product of their choice.
Among all the apps that have had a huge impact on the retail world it’s the social media apps that have become the new avenue for shoppers to get inspired, discover, and at times even shop for the products of their choice. From Facebook to Instagram, every now and then we all have come across ads promoting some cool looking products specifically targeted towards you and let’s face it, the temptation to click that “Buy Now” button has been irresistible at times. So, it’s about time we give social media the respect it deserves in revolutionizing the retail market and giving customers a new avenue to shop.
Social Media – The modern shopper driver
The ubiquity of handheld mobile devices is known to us all. Among many things these tiny powerful technological powerhouses is used for, communication seems to be their primary use. Be it through a call, text, or just interacting with the world through the various social media apps available, these mobile devices have opened the whole world for us. And the world of retail is no exception. According to a recently published study by PWC, the shopping habits of a majority of shoppers is influenced by social media.
In the current retail market, the opinions and reviews of consumers more than ever and it can be attributed to:
- The increasing number of mobile devices
- Social media platforms allowing retailers to make a direct sale from their app
- The readiness of modern shoppers to share their views online
- A seamless procedure to grab the attention of the shoppers through various media content
- And finally, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc acting as the advocate to the product
The new path to purchase
Traditionally the path to purchase for modern shopper involved getting dressed up, walking to the shop or mall, hunt for the product of the choice, and then make the purchase. But that path has been disrupted with the emergence of e-commerce websites, apps, and more recently the significant rise of social media and smartphones. And a lot of the credit for this disruption goes to social media having an influence on the shopper behavior. It will not be false to call the modern shopper a social shopper. Everything and almost anything the modern shopper purchases have a social influence behind it. Maybe they saw it on Instagram, or their friends share rave reviews about the product on their Facebook wall. It could be a deal they found on Twitter or earned a good referral discount for themselves. In one way or the other, the purchase is driven by social media, in most cases. The exceptions though are always there.
The smartphones have also become a source for product discovery through platforms like Taglr, which not only allow you to discover products online but from a brick and mortar shop in the nearby vicinity with great ease. You can then share your experience on social media to avail more deals and discounts offered by the retailers.
The modern digital shopper equipped with a smartphone can discover products not only from its social feed but also can check the offers from the nearby shops using the geo-based ‘product discovery’’ apps like Taglr.
So, if you are a retailer and putting all your eggs in one basket by relying primarily on e-commerce platform to fetch visibility and sales for your products, you might want to think again. The future of retail does not have traffic signals and doors, it’s the social media and product discovery apps you use on a regular basis. If you don’t believe us, fire up your Facebook or Instagram apps right now and see how many “Shop Now” buttons you see. ')}