Retailers know selling has its seasons. Aligned with holidays. Mapped to business cycles. Tracked to consumer trends. Nothing new here.
Well, actually, there is. What’s changing, often faster than many retailers can respond, is the “fluidity of the buy”—the whys and the ways in which consumers make their purchases.
A 2016 total retail survey of 23,000 shoppers in 25 countries by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows:
The net of the PwC survey is: “Online shoppers around the world are fundamentally disrupting retail—again.”
Clearly, there is industry turbulence. Stories of business demise dominate news as retailers struggle to keep up. Brick-and-mortar stores, which anchor mega-mall commerce, are under siege.
Amazon and other digital powerhouses have traditional retailers reeling as they modernize the marketplace. Consumers order differently in this new world order.
Seeing stronger second-half sales in 2016, business forecaster Kiplinger reports:
“Online sales are climbing at a double-digit pace and show little indication of slowing. Online sales and, to a much smaller extent, mail-order sales account for 10% of all goods sold in April, up from 8.7% in April 2015.”
“That’s sure to grow further at the expense of sales in brick-and-mortar establishments. Amazon’s recent full-fledged jump into selling fashion online, for example, will have a big impact.”
IT—Intelligent Talent On Demand
Beyond targeted tech and lithe logistics, engaging consumers today means having:
This brave new world of retail requires a brave new take. It’s a world governed by a new kind of IT—intelligent talent serving savvy shoppers.
Anything less shortchanges customers. Discounts your brand. And no retailer ever wants that
So, what are some longtime retailers doing?
Bringing in the heavy metal. If you’re J.C. Penney, for example, you tap an old revenue stream for new cash flow to infuse a comeback.
Reports FORTUNE: “For the first time in 33 years, the department store will be selling home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines by General Electric, Hotpoint, LG and Samsung, at 22 of its roughly 1,000 stores.”
Selfie shoppers want what they want, when they want it. At the lowest price point and shipping available. And they have options.
Today, “location, location, location” is no longer defined as a premier shopping center with strong anchors. Instead, it’s:
Offering customers just-in-time service through strategic channels will hedge against fixed locations with high overhead—and potentially, capture more sales.
That’s the beauty of virtual: Its ability to move with the fluidity of the buy. Delivering on-demand services to consumers in the restless world of retail.
It’s any to all—every which way. Continue shopping.
“Fluidity of the Buy”
The “fluidity of the buy” rules on-demand retail. Here’s why.
Orders of the day now involve:
For retailers, optimal performance requires new business optics and operations. A critical component is a virtual workforce that morphs with the marketplace.
The pluses of on-demand agents are threefold:
In short, retailers need to sell the way shoppers buy—with fluidity.