How Brands Are Leveraging Technology To Win The E-Commerce Battle?
The retail world has undergone a massive transformation. At a point in time, it looked as if brick-and-mortar stores were fighting a losing battle against their online enemies. With each click, news about ‘the retail apocalypse’ hit the screen. Prominent brands were shutting down retail outlets, reducing store footprints, and were thrown out of business.
Technology played an important role in helping retail make a strong comeback against the influential e-commerce players. Retailers implemented new innovations to adapt to the mobile-driven changes in customer attitudes and behavior. With a customer-centric focus and technology-driven procedures, physical stores are all set to rule the business world once again.
“As per reports published by McKinsey & Company, despite the e-commerce bang, bricks-and-mortar stores will still account for approximately 85% of U.S. retail sales in 2025”
With all said and done, let’s take a look at how brands are leveraging technology to win the e-commerce battle –
- Data and Analytics – Technology has given retailers access to a huge amount of customer data that was not available to them before. Studying data and analyzing how their customers’ shop has helped brands make smarter and informed decisions based on customer traffic, preferences, demographics, and more.
- Omnichannel retail – Brands are offering seamless customer experience with omnichannel marketing strategy. Walmart’s rollout of order-by-text services is the best example of how brands are leveraging on omnichannel strategy. Customers interact with brands through multiple touchpoints and by connecting all these touchpoints, retailers have access to a single view of the customer, their needs, preferences, and buying patterns. This gives retailers the ability to provide them with a unified shopping experience across their online and offline channels.
- Real-time Inventory – With technology like cloud services, brands are now equipped to tackle the challenge of inventory management. Easy access to data about stock availability, shipping details, and orders is helping retailers conduct their daily operations effortlessly and also cut down the cost of software development.
- Proximity Marketing Solutions – Proximity marketing has revolutionized the retail system. Retailers are leveraging on beacon technology to connect with customers in the vicinity of their stores. A customer who has a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device with the retailer’s app on it receives notifications about deals and offers and is encouraged to visit the store. This strategy has worked so well for brands that as many as 14,486,000 proximity sensors have been deployed globally with the number growing at a spontaneous rate.
- Artificial Intelligence – Retailers are implementing AI in various ways to automate their processes, customize their offerings, and make informed recommendations to customers. AI is helping brands provide a unique shopping experience, the best example of which is Amazon Go – a fully automated, cashier-less, check out free shopping store by Amazon. As per leading professional services network Deloitte’s findings, over one-third of brand leaders have adopted AI, a majority of which want to tailor pricing and promotions in real-time using this tech.
- Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – AR and VR are retailer’s latest tools in providing customers with the best shopping experience. Talk of Lowe’s Holoroom, IKEA Place, or Sephora Virtual Artist, brands have leveraged these excellent innovations and are making the best of it. Customers can try on products virtually and visualize items as they would look in real-time at their convenience.
These are some technologies that have been the talk of the town for quite a while now. Many retailers are also trying their hands at facial recognition and voice activation services to see how they can further improve in-store shopping experiences for their customers. With more and more advances in technology, the future of retail seems so bright that it might one day win the physical retail vs. e-commerce battle once and for all.