The future of retail is firmly entangled with the Internet, and savvy retailers are learning to adapt. In addition to embracing Internet commerce, retail growth requires integration of the latest technology into the retail business model. Here are four ways the Internet has transformed retail along with ideas for using them to your advantage in the retail world.
Internet commerce is here to stay. In 2013, five percent of each retail dollar spent went towards an online purchase. Online sales continue to grow while in-store purchases drop accordingly. Modern consumers want the convenience, selection and speed that Internet commerce provides. Retailers are responding by creating online outlets for their products as an extension of their brick-and-mortar stores. Embrace the future of retail by creating Internet commerce sites that provide consumers with a wealth of data. Videos featuring products in use and interactive 360-degree imagery give consumers the information they need to move forward with a purchase.
Real Time Engagement
Mobile technology gives consumers access to a continual flow of information. Successful retailers use this to their advantage by providing customers with relevant content when and where it matters most. Easy-to-use online store locator applications include maps tied to the searcher's location, click-to-call buttons and information about current specials. Once inside the store, customers interact with displays featuring QR codes and Microsoft Tags. Scanning the codes triggers instant access to appropriate coupons and product information for a personalized shopping experience.
Mobile Payment Options
The Internet is changing the way customers pay for their purchases. Mobile wallet applications allow customers to pay through their bank or online payment accounts with their smartphones or tablets. Mobile payments speed up the check-out process and provide extra convenience for both the shopper and the retailer. Forward-thinking retailers invest in the necessary technology to keep their payment systems current with mobile payment trends. Mobile payment methods also make it easy to mesh the hands-on advantage of in-store shopping with the larger selection and home delivery convenience of Internet commerce. Customers shop at a physical retail location and then order from a larger, more customized selection of merchandise online through their device.
Integrated Marketing Management
In the past, neighborhood retailers worked to establish close relationships with their customers to better meet their needs. Today's retailers form a new kind of relationship with shoppers. This relationship largely forms online with retailers providing content through social media sites and consumers interacting with it. Consumer interactions provide retailers with a large amount of data, and retailers use this data to better meet consumer needs. Marketing campaigns use high-tech analytics to analyze consumer behavior online and provide targeted marketing campaigns to boost retail growth. To remain competitive, modern retailers need to catalog every interaction and utilize all available technology tools to increase customer loyalty and build strong brands.
From Internet commerce to mobile payment, the Internet has changed the way people shop. The future is likely to see even more consumer-driven changes to the retail environment. Keep your online presence upgraded and an eye on future technology trends to keep your business competitive in the world of tomorrow.
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