It doesn’t matter if you’re a small e-commerce startup or an established omnichannel giant: Success in 2014 requires an obsession with creating unique shopping experiences.
At Retail’s BIG Show, Piers Fawkes and Scott Lachut from PSFK outlined the key takeaways from their Future of Retail 2014 report. They used technical terms like “data-driven commerce platforms” and “networked purchase path” to describe the trends they’re seeing. But all of those buzzwords point to one big idea: Developing remarkable but frictionless opportunities for customer interaction is vital to engaging and retaining busy, distracted shoppers.
When data, technology and human-powered service come together, retailers can connect with consumers at every stage of the shopping process. Here’s a look at how innovative retail brands are already putting these top trends into action:
- Omni-point of purchase – Ideally, shoppers should be able to buy anytime they experience a product, whether it’s on television, social media or on the street. The path from discovery to checkout is just the first part of the journey; fulfillment completes the experience. Google’s “Shoppable Hangouts” let viewers shop while watching videos that mention products.
- Contextual support – Lachut reminded retailers that “there is a fine line between welcome information and spam.” And that line is defined by relevancy. Devices like Estimote Beacons help retailers beam information to a shopper’s smartphone at precisely the right moment and location.
- Connected relationship management –Collecting information about customers’ purchases and preferences can help retailers provide better experiences. For example, Tory Burch’s Client Book makes it easier for sales staff to provide personalized service.
- Instant verification – Making transactions more efficient and secure can go a long way to removing purchasing obstacles. Apps like Square Wallet attach payment options to a verified customer identity.
- On-demand delivery – Even the most patient shoppers hate waiting for a product to arrive, which is why instant gratification is the final frontier in online shopping. Digital storefronts that offer immediate delivery – like Kate Spade Saturday’s shoppable windows – are dissolving the boundaries between digital and in-store shopping.
Attendees at Retail’s BIG Show saw many innovative ideas in the exhibit hall, but this conversation helped to identify overarching trends while pinpointing successful implementation in the field. Check out summaries and selected insights from PSFK’s report for more examples and ideas.