Connected retail and the rise of “me-tailing”
In the third in our series of guest blogs, Iain Warde, IT Support Manager at Clothingsites.co.uk, reflects on the current challenges facing the retail sector and the rise of me-tailing.
Despite the doom and gloom of recent years, a retail renaissance is underway and it is digital. It’s no longer enough to capture attention and stand out of the crowd, as everything now hinges on how well you engage with a consumer – irrespective of whether they’re in-store, using an app, conducting research using social media or browsing your website.
The speed with which new technologies are being adopted by consumers is breathtaking, as digitally-savvy consumers drive the unstoppable retail revolution. New customer touch points and channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, leave retailers struggling to decide whether to prioritise social engagement, digitally enabled stores or mobile strategy. Understanding when to harness these technologies and how to use them is what connected retail is all about.
Forrester predicts that connected retail will influence 44% of retail sales in 2016. Within three years, it has the potential to revolutionise the industry and transform how retailers operate and how they engage with consumers. It has enormous capacity to improve operations, streamline processes and lead to greater efficiencies. It will improve the in-store experience, breathing new life into the high street in three core areas:
- Improve service delivery by linking consumer insight and data to the buying journey.
- Deliver a personalised consumer experience with tailored products and interactions to support sales.
- Enhance engagement with meaningful experiences to move consumers from transacting to conversing with brands.
“It’s all about me”
Success for retailers lies in developing a deeper relationship with customers, offering highly personalised products and interactions that are contextualised by information gathered in real-time through mobile, social and in-store channels. This new approach, me-tailing, empower consumers with the tools to connect with a brand anytime and anywhere, through varied channels that bring the brand to life in meaningful way to the consumer.
Me-tailing in practice
Stores are vying to deliver ever more creative and personalised shopping experiences as they try to develop connections with their customers. To be successful, me-tailing must be personal, so it can quickly backfire if the wrong proposition is delivered, no matter how exciting the technology. Success lies in its execution and in understanding the individual customer.
The future of the high street
New channels should not be viewed as threats. Retailers who embrace the changing landscape will do so through a mix of online and offline experiences for the consumer – making shopping more convenient and easier. Unless retail brands understand these issues and anticipate changing digital shopping habits, they will disappear from the high street. If they embrace new technology and invest in developing a clear picture of how customers use digital in their daily lives, they will provide the commercial framework for its future. The ability to personalise will foster the type of loyalty that will make retailers successful in the me-tail world. After all, it’s all about you.
Learn more about Incom’s communication solutions for retailers here.
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