Shifting consumer habits, fast-changing technologies, relentless innovation – the retail landscape is changing. Here’s how you can focus on the strategic needs of your business for the year.
U.S. in-store retail sales are expected to grow 2.0% to $4,924 trillion in 2019.
When pitted against eCommerce sales, in-store is still accountable for 89.1% of consumer spending. So if you think the current motto for brick-n-mortar is “adapt or die!” — you’re partially right.
Retail has undergone massive changes over the past decade. Why? Consumers are done with long check-out lines and inattentive service. Instead, they’re drawn to experiential experiences, authenticity, and convenience.
Read any year in review online and you’ll feel the quintessential retail store is disappearing. However, that’s far from the truth.
Brands who want to position themselves for success need a well-rounded digital and physical experience for consumers. That’s why big companies like Amazon and Warby Parker are adding more stores. The goal is to bring out the best of your brand.
Retail is going through a radical transformation. Driven by technological advances, shifting consumer habits, and fast-changing technologies — teams need to innovate to grow.
Which may leave you thinking, is it even possible to stay ahead of the game?
Yes – it is. And you can do it by reciting these retail resolutions for 2019.
- Experiential in-store experience
- Customer interaction
- Accurate time tracking
- Digital channels
- Artificial Intelligence
I will experiment more with my in-store experience
People are concerned brick-and-mortars are dead. However, proof points show that consumers want to shop in different ways and through various channels.
Frictionless and experiential experiences are at the forefront for successful retailers. Amazon Go’s cashierless checkout is an excellent example of this. According to Brick Meets Click, the store produced more sales per square foot than any other retailer except Apple and a handful of other specialty stores.
I will spend less time in the office, more time on the floor with customers
Gone are the days of endless paperwork piles, scheduling, and unproductive meetings. Understaffing negatively impacts customer service, can result in abandoned sales, and even a loss of return business. On the other hand, too many workers result in high labor costs and underutilization of employees.
High performers, such as employee-owned grocery Hy-Vee, will continue to focus on optimizing scheduling to predict customer demand and traffic trends. In turn, managers will spend less time at their desks, and more time interacting with people. A workforce management tool ensures you have the best staff, in the right place, at the right time.
I will keep more accurate time tracking
Accurate time tracking helps control labor costs and predict traffic trends. Plus, retailers need to comply with increasing regulatory requirements.
Certain states allow employees to sue a company for additional wages if they feel the company hasn’t followed employment law. Because of this, keeping precise records of employee schedules and hours are imperative to avoid fines, lawsuits, and bad publicity.
I will open up to new digital channels
And we don’t just mean Facebook and Instagram. Some retailers are reimagining interiors and offering mobile checkout, while others offer “buy online, pick up in-store” options.
In 2018, 67% of consumers used Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store. Consumers who want to “get in, and get out” of a store value this type of service. Store associates can still provide the same friendly and engaging experience for consumers, just in a way they prefer.
I will use more AI in my practices
Business-critical AI from workforce management to merchandising and customer service will continue to change the landscape. But don’t just settle for any intelligent applications.
Retail managers need to make more informed decisions based on data, not employee engagement. It’s important to focus on hard benefits that affect your bottom line such as “reduced MAPE by 13%” or “reduced labor costs by 2%”.
If you’re interested in an advanced retail application, look for use cases with strong traction. Not every application will drive profitability for your company. And your bottom line depends on more than wishful R+D projects.
America’s fastest-growing retailers are bringing in millions a year. Online players like Amazon and Warby Parker continue to add stores. So it may seem easy to get caught in the go-online-or-go-home mindset.
But the proof points show that consumers are merely shopping in different ways — and it’s happening right in your own stores. If you want to provide attentive, valuable, and enjoyable customer experiences, leverage the five retail resolutions above for sustainable future growth.
Want to improve efficiency and labor in your store? Contact us today to discover what REPL can do for you.