It’s no secret that these are challenging times for the retail industry- but is it really all doom and gloom? With challenges in the retail industry comes opportunities for improvements too.
Despite the adversity and uncertainty of the new decade, here’s how to overcome the obstacles in the retail space.
- Utilising Innovative Technologies
- Cashless Society
- Rising Costs and Uncertainty
- The Shift in the Landscape
Utilising Innovative Technologies
Challenge: Technology is both a fantastic opportunity and a huge challenge. There’s such a vast array of retail-related technology available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Retailers are becoming increasingly dependent on technology to manage a wide variety of business processes. This includes tools for things like mobile payments, accounting, stock management, marketing, loyalty schemes and more.
It’s not just about choosing which technology to use - but choosing technology that can work together in one integrated ecosystem. It's about making sure that everyone has access to the same accurate, real-time data that will enhance future decisions.
Opportunity: In a time where technology is constantly improving, the successful exploitation of new ideas is crucial to a business that wants to increase profit and productivity. Not only is this more efficient for your business but fewer manual processes can give you the time back to spend on customer satisfaction and growth.
Challenge: The days of customers carrying cash are slowly fading, with card and mobile transactions dominating. Driven by consumer preference, we’re quickly approaching a ‘cashless society’.
Opportunity: Customers have all the power. Offering flexibility around payment types is non-negotiable if you want to remain relevant in the retail industry.
If you don’t already offer quick, seamless card payment options, now’s the time to start. Even more of an incentive is that a Visa study actually estimated that some businesses could save up to £6,000 by switching to card payments only.
Rising Costs and Uncertainty
Challenge: There’s no getting around the fact that things are getting more expensive. Business rates, pensions, commodity prices and plenty of other costs are rising. Set this against the backdrop of reduced customer confidence and increased competition, both online and offline, there’s definitely a challenge ahead.
The UK’s planned departure from the European Union has already put retailers under pressure. During the uncertain transition period, retailers need to keep an eye on developments.
Opportunity: No matter which way you spin it, Brexit will undeniably have a unique effect on each and every business. With consumers less likely to part with their money, now more than ever, you need to set your retail store above the rest.
Whether it’s utilising the latest technology in retail innovation or improving loyalty programs, it’s essential to take this opportunity to improve.
The Shift in the Landscape
Challenge: One of the biggest challenges the retail industry is currently facing is undoubtedly the continuing rise of eCommerce and the convenience it brings. Online retailers have the advantage of being able to use sophisticated digital marketing tech, increasing the number of touchpoints with a customer.
The good news is that there are many ways to bring these benefits into the physical store environment - the best of both worlds.
Opportunity: Some retailers install tablets in their store or facilitate contactless payments. Others simply offer free WiFi. If you choose the latter option, you should also consider utilising the WiFi platform for marketing. Use that as a channel to send them messages and promotions to encourage purchases.
According to data from Cisco, 96% of consumers prefer to shop at stores that have free WiFi and they’re also more likely to return in the future. Over time, you’ll also gain valuable analytics from in-store browsing behaviours to further personalise content and offers.
With this in mind, retailers stand the best possible chance of growing and thriving as a new decade unfolds.
Intelligent analytics and improved in-store customer experience are just a few ways retailers can overcome the challenges prevalent in the industry. In our latest guide, we’ve explored going head-to-head with eCommerce and how to stay afloat.
Are You Prepared to Overcome Industry Challenges and Improve Your Customers’ Retail Experience?
With the unpredictable future looming, it’s essential to re-evaluate your customer experience. We’ve created a free guide that includes some of the most innovative ways that retailers can enhance the customer experience and create loyal brand advocates.
Innovative technologies are required to meet shifting customer demands and our guide considers some of the ones we expect to see in the near future. For your copy, click on the link below to start driving customer engagement instore.