The online retail landscape drives evolution for the consumer shopping experience. In the past decade, we’ve witnessed the rise of online shopping, the advent of mobile integration and social media influencers becoming a mainstay in marketing campaigns. Here are a few ways shopping habits have changed.
Monthly boxes like BirchBox and Stitch Fix make mail subscriptions popular again. Move over Cheese of The Month Club; these online retailers use a nuanced approach to lure and keep customers.
With over 2000 different retailers offering subscription boxes – coordinating with varying niches – a wide range of consumers are targeted. These boxes foster community by creating an event out of a regularly mundane shopping experience. Friends who receive the same box can converse over the latest items in this month’s trove.
Retailers have the versatility to offer varying packages depending on the price point of each consumer and their specific needs. For companies like Birchbox, consumers answer questions to determine their style and makeup priorities. The answers to these questions ensure each box tailors to the consumer, giving them both a unique and useful application. The result of this individualization increases the chances of customer satisfaction and repeat business.
Subscriptions also keep costs down. Like a magazine subscription, a consumer signs up ahead of time. The retailer then knows the exact amount of inventory needed to fill all orders and therefore, cuts down on waste.
Companies like BirchBox continue to monetize their product by offering samples in the boxes with an option to buy the full-size product through their website.
Seamless Social Media Shopping
Year after year, mobile continues its ascent to the dominant medium for content and e-commerce. Online retailers with simple web design and fast page loading times are at a unique advantage to rack up sales because mobile users look for speed and ease of use.
Consider Instagram’s focus on shop-able posts at the moment. This feature allows consumers to click on a shopping bag icon to immediately reveal pricing and a direct link to buy enviable items. Before this feature, you could tag product manufacturer accounts, but the user would still have to dig up the manufacturer’s account page, click a link to their website and then search for the product on their website.
Savvier Consumer Base
Customers are now accustomed to searching online for reviews before making a purchase. Higher quality items at an attractive price shine over items riddled with one-star reviews
Brick and mortar stores are no longer immune. With smartphones tethered to nearly every shopper going through your doors, consumers can easily access information about your products and services.
Websites like Amazon offer millions of items at the click of a mouse, so if your store has a continuity problem with inventory vacancies, you will miss out on sales. Unless your item is made-to-order, consider most consumers will not want to wait for your restock. Offering to ship the item for free to their doorstep once the inventory replenishes is a good option to capture these consumers.
The new retail landscape is all about adaptation. Staying relevant means devoting time to staying on top of how tech changes the retailer to consumer relationship, finding innovation through the changes and continuing to offer great products.
Byline: Nathan Sykes is a blogger, techie and beer lover. When he’s not geeking out about the latest software update, Nathan can be found cheering on whichever Pittsburgh sports team is playing at the time. To stay up to date on the latest in tech, check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.