Blog - Sales/Growth

Disrupting Retail – Again


Grey haired smiling mature woman walking on a street in town shopping bags over her shoulder

Grey haired smiling mature woman walking on a street in town shopping bags over her shoulder

Consumers Reshape Shopping

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:

  • 54% of consumers buy online weekly or monthly
  • 34% will use mobile phones to make most purchases
  • 67% will be influenced by social media in their shopping

The net of the PwC survey is: “Online shoppers around the world are fundamentally disrupting retail—again.”

As technology enables more options, consumers are making their preferences known, whether they’re buying clothing, furniture or groceries. The dynamics for each are different, PwC reports.

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.

Modernizing the Marketplace

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:

  • eLastic efficiency – Fast-flex workforces that can scale to meet demand.
  • Consumer compatico – Empathic workers who relate to informed consumers.
  • iKnow agents – Experts who know your industry, business and brand cold.

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


Old Dog. Older Trick.

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.”

I-Me-Mine Consumers

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:

  • The right mix of online shopping, well-placed stores and pinpoint distribution.
  • Backed by a responsive workforce that identifies with—and can sell to—iConsumers.

Beauty of Virtual

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:

  • Shoppers crisscrossing multiple channels—demanding simplified, seamless buying.
  • Retailers ensuring immediate delivery—boxed and tracked right to your doorstep.
  • Consumers expecting virtual Valhalla—elevated experiences worth repeating online.

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:

  1. Always there when you need them, able to ramp up or down.
  2. No overhead in paid benefits, office space or capital equipment.
  3. Pay only for services delivered, with no long-term commitments.

In short, retailers need to sell the way shoppers buy—with fluidity.


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