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Digital has made its way into the retail industry

Posted by Hai Nguyen

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Digital takes an important role today in every operation across industries; we can do almost everything using any digital devices. Emails, mobile apps, computers have made it easy for us to do almost everything we would like to.

Since digital is now an unseperated part in people's life, consumers now expect that communication between them and brands would be personalised case by case and they don't want to be disturbed by any “spam” messages. This trend urges retailers to adopt tools or solutions that help them better communicate with their consumer which help improve their loyalty.

Digital has made its way into the retail industry

True facts regarding the importance of digital

A numbers of studies have pinpointed the fact that digital plays a critical role in retail industry; mobile app, social media and personalized communication are actively helping retailers gain customer loyalty.

More than half (54%) of respondents in a research by CME council said that they need relevant information about the product in order to maintain their commitment to a brand; meanwhile 57% of individuals agree that a "poorly designed" mobile website will also discourage them from coming back, according to a study by Mobile Marketer.

Read more: Retailers and the challenge from mobile devices

Between 2011 and 2017, the value of retail transaction that people make from their mobile devices will rise eleven fold across Europe.

This estimate look conservative with the continuing emergence of app-based shopping and we will see e-commerce and mobile commerce would be very popular and become a mainstream means of shopping.

Retailers need to meet customers’ digital demand

Point-of-sale purchase decisions are not just evolving in the physical world but on the web as well. The rise of social media platforms have brought interaction between the brands and the customers, viral marketing and social storefronts to provide an alternative channel for retailers to sell through.

Compendium's research cited that the average number of Facebook likes among the Top 100 retailers is around 1.2 million.

Nevertheless, the engagement rate through the social site among these brands is only about 2 percent, which indicates that retailers haven't taken full advantage of this channel.

Additionally, a study by Exact Target showed that the average time for a merchant to answer a customer’s enquiries through social media is about 7 hours which is actually  too long of a time spanand the customer may buy products from competitors.

Retailers need to meet customers’ digital demand

Technology will play a key part in developing the virtual marketplace. In the next decade, there will be a market where online purchases account for a far greater proportion of overall retail sales than currently.

Physical products like books and consumer electronics has limited to online shopping. However, views that “try before you buy” categories such as clothing or groceries would not catch on are being proven wrong with the success of firms like ASOS and the increasing focus on online sales for mainstream grocery retailers.

Tablet and smartphone applications will be the key driver for this trend as they increase connectivity and provide more choices to the consumers, plus the recent economic downturn has acted as a catalyst to increasingly sophisticated consumer behaviour.

The emergence of price comparison sites for retail is not new, but austerity has supplied a strong incentive for consumers to move online.

By 2022 these bargain-driven technologies will have merged and expanded in scope so that sophisticated sites are able to tailor the best voucher or Groupon-type offers into much more personalised and bespoke retail services. “Marketplacing”, where different retailers compete under one “virtual” roof, will offer maximum choice to consumers.

eBay and Amazon already cater to the virtual marketplace concept. This means that 2022 will see retailers competing head to head with one another and with producers further up the supply chain through consolidated platforms.

Conclusion

Digital has gradually proven their priority in many companies, as Digiday suggested. Many brands has utilised personalised information such as past purchases to elevate customer loyalty. Also, mobile sites and apps updating has become daily tasks for many brands. Therewithal, social media has also become a tool to foster customer engagement rather than just a sale boosting tool, which in turn helps nurture trusting relationships between retailers and consumers.

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Topics: Retail Management System

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