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Retail 2020: The 7 Trends Impacting Brick & Mortar Retailers

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The retail industry is in the midst of a massive transformation driven by consumers’ rapid adoption of new digital technologies. By the year 2020, the retail landscape will have fundamentally changed how every retailer will go to market. No segment of retail will be more impacted than the brick-and-mortar store. Here are seven trends brick-and-mortar retailers should consider, and what they can do to make their stores retail winners.

  1. Social networks – the wealth of information about consumer shopping behavior and preferences available in social networks is gold for retailers. Using the right customer analytics tools, retailers can effectively mine this data to gain insights into what consumers want to buy and channel these insights into more effective merchandising plans and promotions. Conversely, retailers can utilise social networks to build relationships and become trusted brands to influence what and how consumers buy.

  2. Showrooming –Rather than trying to prevent the inevitable, brick-and-mortar retailers must embrace showrooming as an opportunity to engage shoppers in their stores to grow revenue and loyalty both online and in physical channels. This will require better trained and equipped store associates with clienteling and assisted-selling tools, new service-based store layouts with curated assortments, negotiate prices, and cater to local demographics and shopping preferences.

  3. Store-specific assortments –The era of “push-based” mass merchandising is a thing of the past. Retailers must cater to the local consumer, segment and curate assortments according to their preferences as gleaned from their all-channel purchases, and create store-specific planograms that maximize shelf-level performance.

  4. Store-size rationalization – With the changing role of stores from big boxes jammed full of inventory to destinations for entertainment, socializing and the total shopping experience, retailers will quickly need to reevaluate and rationalize their entire real estate strategy. Will the traditional mall anchor stores move to smaller strip centers? Should once abandoned rural locations be reconsidered? Retailers must understand the new role of physical channels in an all-channel commerce environment and adjust store sizes, layouts, assortments, fixture arrangement and “entertainment” factors accordingly to deliver a seamless brand experience.

  5. Near-field communication – In addition to mining social networks, retailers must begin to employ near field communication technologies within their stores to better understand how shoppers move through the store to online purchasing decisions and to offer them contextual, real-time options through mobile apps and interactive store displays.

  6. Growth in order fulfillment from stores –This requires traditional retailers to re-examine policies on staffing, compensation, task assignment, inventory planning and sales reporting. Fulfilling online orders from stores raises new issues, such as not cannibalizing inventory at the expense of foot traffic, and how to measure and compensate store associates and managers for sales made online, but fulfilled in the store—for example, where is revenue for the sale assigned?

  7. Growth of the “dark store” - Retailers have started to turn strategically placed, but underperforming stores into non-selling “dark stores” designed to fulfill online orders for same-day or next-day deliveries. This will require tremendous focus on how to source, fulfill and deliver products in a timely fashion through supply chain planning and warehouse management execution, combined with a flexible and dynamic transportation network in order to move goods profitably with greater emphasis on collaboration with suppliers.

Brick and mortar retailers who want become retail leaders in 2020 must be able to deliver a seamless all-channel shopping experience to customers. This requires a 360 degree view of the customer, using contextual data to create personal marketing strategies that engage customers based on their unique shopping patterns and preferences. Creating a seamless all-channel shopping experience begins with accurately sensing demand across all channels simultaneously, to create a single forecast of consumer shopping behavior to feed the all-channel forecast engine. In this way, retailers can create curated assortments tailored to the customer’s shopping patterns and preferences.

Fulfilling the brand promises in the all-channel shopping experience requires supply chains that are immediately responsive and flexible. This can only be accomplished with real-time supply chain solutions encompassing all channels and directing all distribution centers concurrently. Inventory must be pooled virtually across the network to support these real-time operations.

There is no question that life for brick-and-mortar stores in 2020 will look vastly different than it does today. But the change is already in full swing. Retailers who want to survive and be winners must start their transformation now. Do you have the right people, the right infrastructure, and the real-time supporting systems for all-channel commerce, store operations and supply chain management to compete and thrive in 2020? Those who don’t, risk the competition getting there first.

Published on Tuesday 12 August by Editorial Assistant
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