At a recent Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) event, Walgreens’ president of digital and CMO, Sona Chawla, discussed the new e-commerce initiatives that Walgreens has implemented since her tenure, and made a point to tell the audience that she believes this is the most exciting time in retail. For those of us in the industry, we couldn’t agree more. The history of retail is made up of many transformative “moments,” from the first cash register invented in 1883, to the opening of the first shopping mall in 1930 and the establishment of online retail giant Amazon in 1995.
We are currently living in an age of intense digital transformation, where retail shoppers are making a global impact on the industry. They are armed with more technology and knowledge than ever before, not to mention a whole new attitude of what they expect from retailers. Retailers, you need to be listening, or else risk missing this significant retail moment.
Whether you are at your office, a restaurant, the grocery store, it’s likely that you are surrounded by fellow consumers who are also deeply engaged on their phones. Despite more than half of all online traffic and an average of 28% of all sales now stemming from mobile devices, the vast majority of retailers are struggling to reduce bounce rates and increase add-to-cart metrics. In our most recent consumer survey, we asked 300 shoppers about how they shop on their mobile device – their responses make it clear that they simply demand more from their mobile shopping experiences.
According to the shoppers we surveyed, they feel that mobile experiences are average at best. And 70% of shoppers are moderately to not-at-all-satisfied with retailers’ mobile site experiences – not an ideal statistic. Mobile spending hit $204 billion last year, and if retailers want to tap into the mobile commerce goldmine, it must be done methodically and with a plan.
Retail has seen an interesting new format crop up in the last five years that Amazon Prime, Birchbox, StitchFix and others have begun to perfect, but it’s a difficult business model to master. Using a carefully finessed recipe that couples automation and machine learning with human-driven curation techniques, subscription e-commerce companies are the poster children of the new generation of retail.
For those constantly on-the-move consumers (which is most people these days), systems like these are gifts from the retail gods. Working women with no time to head to the mall can receive new clothes every three weeks, and college students on a budget can still explore their beauty routines and build their brand loyalty with new sample products each month. Even perishable goods subscription services like Mantry and Plated are picking up speed with young professionals that are too busy to grocery shop but still prioritize healthy, artisanal eating.
Personalization remains a top retail buzzword, and it’s for good reason. Shoppers today want customized shopping experiences that fit their needs as well as their schedules. Subscription e-commerce models do just that: individually curated products shipped directly to your door. In order to make this a reality, companies moving into the subscription retail space had to find a way to learn about customer preferences and streamline the shopping journey. Otherwise known as: The Birchbox Effect.
Guess what retailers? Everyday, run-of-the-mill shoppers do not care anything about the word “omni-channel” or any other marketing buzzword associated with it. What do they care about? Retail shoppers today, equipped with more knowledge and technology than ever before, care about things like:
•Convenience, but they don’t really care how a retailer handles their shipping or order fulfillment as long as it arrives to them in the manner and time period in which they prefer;
• Price, but they don’t care what price intelligence solution powers the retailer’s dynamic pricing strategy so long as they can compare prices on their computer or smartphone at the click of a button; and
• A Delightful Shopping Journey, that provides them with a relevant shopping experience and that is seamless, no matter the channel.
Today marks the first full day of the Demandware Xchange ’15 conference in Las Vegas. Being a Demandware LINK partner, the Edgecase team is at the show and excited to spend time with some of our joint clients and hear first-hand about the exciting things Demandware is working on.
To our delight, the content tracks that Demandware has chosen to cover are topics that are near-and-dear to the innovations and value that our teams are focused on daily. These are the three that especially stand out…
Consumers’ movement to do more of their shopping online is out-pacing retailers’ ability to innovate, especially for the mobile web. More and more shoppers are turning to their mobile devices for product discovery while desktop experiences continue to account for more sales. Click through to check out our latest infographic for tips on how to live up to consumers’ evolving expectations and overcome this disconnect through a superior experience.