As technology and the Internet transform the shopping experience, traditional retailers are struggling to keep pace with online businesses. Instead of working against the changing retail landscape, companies can embrace risk and seize opportunities to move successfully into the future of retail.
Consumers are increasingly tied to their mobile phones, using them for everything from banking to social media. As mobile technology becomes more advanced, retailers have the opportunity to capitalize on it. The future of retail holds ample opportunity for mobile wallet technology, which allows consumers to pay for items directly from their phones. If a company can manage to integrate mobile payments into their process without compromising safety or increasing transaction time, they have the potential to take the next step into the future of retail.
With the ready availability of Internet on phones and tablets, consumers have the opportunity to research products and look for better prices—often, right in the store. This practice, called "showrooming," has been troublesome for brick-and-mortar stores, which often have a hard time competing with online retailers in terms of price. In planning ways to move into the future of retail, traditional retailers have the opportunity to embrace showrooming by transforming their stores into display rooms for products and handling a greater percentage of sales online. In the process, they might be able to cut back on inventory and reduce operating costs. Research by Deloitte has found that though customers want to see products in the store, only 9 percent report that they need to see the full range.
In the retail industry, evolving technology and changing consumer behavior are pointing to the death of the traditional retail format. For store owners who are willing to accept the risk and jump past showrooming, the future of retail holds endless opportunity for online sales. In fact, Business Insider reported that in 2013, one out of every 20 dollars spent on retail went to online sales. What's more, while offline sales have been steadily declining since 2011, e-commerce sales are growing. Consumers, who are pressed for time and presented with seemingly endless shopping options, are increasingly choosing to make their purchases online at any time that is convenient. For retailers, this trend presents the opportunity to get in early and build an online customer base. Whether businesses close their traditional stores entirely or shift a larger portion of sales to an online shopping cart, Internet-based retailing is the way of the future.
Market conditions in the retail industry are changing rapidly, and retailers must keep pace or fall by the wayside as other companies move ahead. By staying current with shifting consumer demand and technology trends, store owners can move gracefully into the future of retail without losing speed.
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