I had just gotten home from the grocery store when I realized what I realize every time I leave the grocery store: I’d forgotten something. Not wanting to take yet another trip to the somehow always busy convenience store, I called upon my Amazon Echo for help, and my order was placed faster than I could say, “Alexa, order paper towels.”
We live in an age of convenience, rewarded with instant gratification made that much easier through voice assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Within three years, about 40 percent of consumers will use a voice assistant as an alternative to mobile apps or websites. While this technology has made ordering easier for consumers, it has only complicated things for retailers.
With renewed consumer interest in mobile and in-app purchasing, retailers are still trying to crack the eCommerce code. Retailers are trying to provide a straight forward, fast experience for consumers who don’t have the time or patience to visit a brick and mortar store. Brands that want to succeed in the New Retail Economy must successfully merge physical and digital retail.
With eCommerce growing at a steady pace (nearly 12 percent in Q1 2017 alone), retailers are revamping their mobile applications and integrating digital and physical properties to deliver memorable experiences that drive sales and loyalty. This adaptability and seamless, personalized customer experience is crucial to viability in the retail market, and the ability to deliver unique products at consumer speed in the evolving landscape will be the real test of retailer’s staying power.
To truly respond to consumer needs, retailers must ensure they aren’t operating in a vacuum. The end-to-end shopping experience is rapidly changing with the mass influx in online purchases. Retailers are bombarded on the backend and struggling to keep up with shifting consumer preferences and shopping habits. Though retailers might have an impossible time trying to control how consumers shop, investing in supply chain and new retail technology can help better handle changing consumer shopping habits.
While most retailers already have an agile supply chain in place that allows them to produce high-quality goods at low prices, it’s often not fast enough. Consumers want products that are fast, good and cheap – and by investing in supply chain tech (like P2P systems, for example), retailers can deliver all three. Though this process isn’t as simple as asking Alexa to order your household items, retailers must keep the digital consumer interested, and have the sourcing infrastructure to back it up.
Consumers aren’t only shifting their focus from in-store to online: Their shifting preferences is changing how retailers develop and deliver their products.