How are Retailers Adapting to the New Customer Journey and Pressures from Amazon?

Retail is changing at the speed of light. Consumer behavior and mobile technology are dramatically changing the traditional retail model. Amazon continues to disrupt retail as it delves deeper into brick-and-mortar with the acquisition of Whole Foods. Meanwhile, bankruptcies and store closures make daily headlines, as the phrase ‘retail apocalypse’ becomes the topic of many conversations. These developments dictate retailers’ necessity to adapt to the new customer journey to accommodate the blurred lines of retail and innovative methods of shopping driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods. To succeed, retailers may need to reinvent themselves to create an effective blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain customer loyalty.

Consumers expect quick access to products and most retailers are now responding by offering same day delivery. According to a new survey from BRP,  51% of retailers indicate they currently offer same day delivery, up from 16% last year, and within two years 65% plan to offer this service. Delivery via a third party service, such as Uber or Lyft has also increased (from 20% last year to 32% this year) as retailers look at different ways to offer customers the flexibility to shop, purchase and receive their goods on their own terms.

“With Amazon offering same day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible,” said Jeffrey Neville, vice president at BRP. “Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving vehicles soon a reality and a few food delivery start-ups already testing the concept.”

BRP conducted the 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey to understand the current retail challenges and the available opportunities for retailers as they face the future of retail. The key customer imperatives are:

  • Personal – Combining behavioral, historical and customer profile data empowers retailers to deliver tailored and relevant content to meet customers’ individual needs. 38% of retailers indicate that improving personalization is a top digital customer experience priority.
  • Ubiquitous – Customer expectations for a personalized, seamless experience require retailers to  follow customers’ journeys as they research and shop from anywhere. 49% of retailers will offer customers the ability to ‘start anywhere, finish anywhere’ within five years.
  • Unified – Retailers’ technology, processes and organization need to be unified and aligned across channels to offer a seamless and consistent customer experience. 54% of retailers indicate that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top priority.

I encourage you to download the complete report: 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey

Special thanks to the sponsors of the 2017 Customer Experience/ Unified Commerce Survey: Manhattan Associates, ECRS, Mi9 Retail, NCR, and Radial.

I hope you enjoy the report.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on this topic.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

David

Vice President of Marketing
David has more than 15 years of experience marketing to retail and hospitality companies. His broad marketing experience is focused on designing and executing successful strategic marketing plans, demand generation, public relations and branding through customer-centric messaging. He has significant experience marketing retail technology and services with an emphasis on POS systems.

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