Technology is changing the retail industry. Twenty years ago, companies like Amazon developed the first e-commerce sites. Yet, some still believe that posting their businesses online is all it takes to succeed. Wrong! Using the same marketing devices and the same business plan is the crux of the issue: you may not achieve the desired result.
Your business model will change, which means:
- - Your value proposition will change.
- - All aspects of your customer relationship will be transformed.
- - Your market segment will evolve, as long as you keep your bricks-and-mortar store. Your online store shouldn't cannibalize it. They should each offer different items for sale.
- - Your resources will also change
- - Your logistics costs will change.
- - Your revenue and profits will have other ratios.
The customer experience will no longer be the same because of technology that’s constantly developing, especially with regard to loyalty and geolocalization.
Key components to online shopping
- - The immediacy of the offer;
- - Mobile applications should be integrated to attract the consumer to the virtual environment;
- - Stop just thinking of the “consumer.” Get partners involved and use Big Data wisely (don't forget to target social media, too) and aim for a client base that can't be reached with your physical store;
- - Go back to the fundamentals of the offer and don't worry about the competition. Play the “added value and distinction” card;
- - Customer referral: Satisfied customers will talk to their family and friends and will recommend online shopping;
- - Establish a loyalty program so that customers can automatically benefit from personalized promotions.
How can you go about ensuring that the physical store continues to prosper? It is vital that you examine your business model. For this type of store, there are now some great tools to remain profitable and continue operations. Rest assured, there are companies in Quebec that can help you, such as:
- - Loyalty marketing software
Customers rightfully feel as though they are treated above average, whereas companies can take advantage of a gold mine of data on their customers’ spending habits.
- - Geolocalization
- - The installation of Beacon technology
in order to develop scenarios intended to engage the customer in conversation at the point of sale. This interior geolocalization allows you to attract passers-by into the store, distribute electronic coupons in store departments or at displays, and even to implement a remote payment system at the store’s exit.
- - SEO
with a website that can both welcome and attract your clientele into your store.
- - Badges to play in order to win a customer experience
According to CEFRIO, online shopping has become routine for consumers worldwide. Data from the CEFRIO3 study has shown that, in Quebec in 2014, 49.4% of all adults, and over 65% of those whose annual family income is $60,000 or more, made at least one online purchase that year. Still in 2014, these online shoppers spent an average of $292 per month, which allows us to estimate the online spending of adult Quebecers at $6.6 billion for that year. However, Quebec businesses have been slow to adopt e-commerce, especially those with fewer than 100 employees. In fact, only 12.3% of businesses in the manufacturing, wholesale, retail sales and services industries, and only 14.5% of companies in the retail sales industry have jumped on the bandwagon.
We often forget that, contrary to what we are led to believe, business-to-business (B2B) commerce is the most significant driver of e-business trade in Canada. An interesting topic for my next article!