Last week, we wrote about the retail revolution, in which brands are increasingly using new technologies to create more personalized customer experiences. With so many retailers competing for consumers’ mindshare, and wallets, it’s important for brands to differentiate themselves through the experiences they provide – in-store, online, and on mobile devices. As we explore the theme of Innovation throughout the month of April, we’re looking at the ways brands are using technology in unique ways, and evolving to provide more convenient, personalized and efficient experiences for their customers. Here are five of the most innovative retail trends shaping the industry today:
- Price Matching. Before the 2014 holiday season, many brick-and-mortar retailers rolled out price matching in an effort to fight back against the showrooming trend, and to keep customers that would otherwise be wooed away by Amazon and other online retailers. Large retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy will now offer consumers the same price they find online.
- Mobile Apps. Nielsen found that 63 percent of consumers surveyed are using apps to check prices online while shopping. And Google found that almost half of those that are online while shopping are using the retailer’s own site or app. By offering a user-friendly mobile app, brands can grab these customers’ attention and keep them from going to other sites. For example, Target saw 10 percent of its iPhone app revenue on Black Friday from customers purchasing products on their phones while they were simultaneously shopping in stores.
- Buy Online, Pickup In-store. The online and in-store experience is merging further as brands like Gap and Banana Republic cater to busy consumers by allowing them to select items online and reserve them for in-store pick up – thus providing the convenience of online shopping without the wait and cost of shipping. Forrester recently reported in “Nailing In-Store Pickup” that more than 70 percent of respondent said they use buy online, pickup in-store services.
- Ship-from-store. Brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy and Gap are able to compete against the likes of Amazon by becoming mini distribution hubs, where online orders are fulfilled from local stores rather than from huge distribution centers. This benefits the consumer by reducing shipping times, and helps the retailer save money with shorter shipping routes.
- In-home Purchases. Amazon is taking convenience one step further by bringing one-click ordering into consumers’ homes with the just-announced Dash Buttons. The Buttons can be adhered directly to everyday products like laundry detergent, and with just one push, the product is ordered on Amazon. Product manufacturers will also be able build the buttons into products, so that pet food dispensers and water filters will know when they’re running low and automatically re-order, without involving the consumer at all.
These five trends will change the way that consumers interact with retailers through more convenient experiences, and will help brick-and-mortar retailers continue to compete in today’s omni-channel world. What other retail innovations are you seeing?