As shopper mentality is changing, demand for instant gratification is shaping the future of retail.
It’s no longer desired but expected. As trends researcher Victoria Buchanan says, “The idea someone would want to sit in and wait all day for an Asos package is ridiculous.” This desire for convenience in a multi-channel world means retailers are having to work harder than ever to keep up with the competition and gain real loyalty from their customers. Key to all of this is the need to make the process of buying something simple. In 2017, we’ll see retailers piloting and launching more technology-based shopping options than ever before. These are the ones worth keeping an eye on.
Going further than mobile first
According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, 66% of visits to retail websites between November and January 2016 came through mobile devices and this is likely to rise. Shoppers are now able to interact with retailers no matter where they are or what time of the day it is, but it’s not always easy to get it right.
Apps continue to build popularity as retailers figure out how to make them work as more than just a gimmick. In early 2016, Starbucks launched their Mobile Order & Pay app in the UK, allowing customers to order before they arrive and jump the queue. Using the app regularly earns stars that can add up to free drinks and additional rewards via their loyalty scheme. Here, Starbucks managed to remove the friction from the customer experience, making it a successful launch for the business.
And with beacon technology on the rise, retailers can now use geotargeting to send coupons or messages to a user’s phone when they are near to a store. By targeting them when they’re in the area, it’s never been easier (or more compelling) for shoppers to simply pop in there and then. Several retailers have used this successfully, including IKEA who saw a 31% increase in footfall following their geotargeted Facebook ad campaign.
Traditional social content is also now more shoppable than ever, with offerings like Pinterest’s Buyable Pins and Shoppable Instagram firmly embedded in our shopping behaviour. On Shop Direct, we have hosted shoppable videos on Very.co.uk’s YouTube channel; whenever a product was mentioned, it was then made shoppable to the Very site.
Making it easier than ever
An important part of “wanting it now” is to make this “now” as easily attainable as possible. Some retailers have managed to eliminate common pain points in the shopper journey with some clever tech.
Amazon has finally launched its much-anticipated Dash service which is offering us a glimpse of how FMCG brands can make digital work at last. The Amazon Dash Button allows users to place Wi-Fi buttons around their house and program them to order goods from Amazon with a single click. It’s designed to be used on everyday essentials you remind yourself to buy when you see your supply running low. It’ll be interesting to see what the shopper reaction to this programme is like.
SUPERDRY has installed a “smart mirror” in Berlin, allowing shoppers to try on clothes without even needing to go to the changing room and take anything off. Pat Fahy, Creative Director, customer experience at Seymourpowell, said, “Any movement the customer makes is mirrored by the garment shown on screen, giving people a new, instant feel for how the product fits and moves.” This move not only gives the customer a more relaxed shopping experience, but could help the retailer minimise returns at the same time.
Make the checkout pain-free and get them the goods asap
One of the most painful points in the whole shopper journey continues to be the checkout, with many shoppers abandoning their baskets due to a fiddly process of entering card details time again. The 1-Click checkout patent has generated huge revenue for Amazon by removing this friction, and has allowed Amazon to achieve extremely high conversion from its existing customers. The patent is due to run out soon though, and we’re waiting for other retailers to catch on…
And of course poor customer experience at delivery can be bad for customer loyalty. According to Campaign Live, “click and collect is beating mobile as the retail technology that has most impact on the way consumers shop”. Millennials are twice as likely to pick up online groceries on the same day as purchase and 46% will pay higher for same day delivery, so it makes sense that many retailers are working on ways to make click & collect or next day delivery better and more efficient for their customers.