The retailing industry is going through a period of significant change in terms of how customers interact with retailers. The days of the in-store experience being the dominant customer touchpoint are over. The advent of the World Wide Web gave shoppers a virtual shopping option. Despite predictions to the contrary, brick-and-mortar stores have not disappeared due to the emergence of e-commerce. Now, the evolution of mobile communication leads many retailers to again predict a revolution in shopper behavior.
According to a recent study by Motorola Solutions, 74% of retailers surveyed believe creating a more engaging in-store experience will be critical to business success over the next five years. Technology-assisted interactions are expected to play a significant role in shoppers’ behavior. Among key findings pointing to a more significant role for technology in retailing:
- 56% of all transactions will occur via mobile point of sale, self-service checkout, or a shopper’s mobile device
- 42% of sales will come from online, mobile, and social commerce sites
Exciting news – shoppers are embracing technology to make purchases… or is it exciting news? These trends should serve as a wake-up call for retailers that have resisted enhancing their interactive experiences for shoppers. It is understandable why retailers might be reluctant to quickly react to the forecasts – we have heard similar proclamations before. The Web did not make traditional stores obsolete, and while smartphone capabilities have definitely changed how we shop, brick-and-mortar stores are not going away anytime soon.
Regardless of whether the forecast for mobile commerce over the next five years comes to fruition, the survey’s findings should serve as a call for retailers to step up their m-commerce game. It is evident that retailers know the stakes are higher to meet shoppers where they are and deliver value by providing information, coupon offers, and transaction convenience. The key for retailers will be make understanding the customer shopping experience a priority – not what they think shoppers will want but committing resources to learn and understand what customers expect from retailers.