Ready or Not, Cross-Channel Shopping Is Here to Stay
Of all the marketplace transitions that have swept through the developed world’s retail industry over the last five to seven years, the most important is the behavioral shift to cross-channel shopping.
The story is told in these three data points1:
- 60 plus percent of U.S. shoppers (and a higher number in the U.K.) regularly begin their shopping journey online.
- Online ratings and reviews have the greatest impact on shopper purchasing decisions, above friends and family, and have four to five times greater impact than store associates.
- Nearly 90 percent of all retail revenue is carried out in the store.
Retail today is face-to-face with a shopper who’s squarely at the intersection of e-commerce, an ever-present smartphone, and an always-on connection to the Internet.
Few retailers are blind to the big behavioral shift. Most brands are responding with strategic omni-channel investments that seek to erase legacy channel lines between customer databases, inventories, vendor lists, and promotions.
Channel-centric organizations are being trimmed, scrubbed, or reshaped. There’s even a willingness — at least among some far-sighted brands — to deal head-on with the thorny challenge of revenue recognition.
All good. All necessary.
Redefining the Retail Space
But, as far as I can tell, only a handful of leaders are asking the deeper question: what, exactly, is the new definition of the store?
What is the definition of the store when the front door to the brand is increasingly online?
What is the definition of the store when shoppers know more than the associates, and when the answer to the question of how and why becomes — at the point of purchase — more important than what and how much?
What is the definition of the store beyond digital? Or of a mash-up of the virtual and physical?
What is the definition — not of brick-and-mortar and shelves and aisles and four-ways and displays — but of differentiating value delivery?
This is a topic we’re now exploring through whiteboard sessions and analyst and advisor discussions. We’re hard at work reviewing the crucial capabilities that will drive the 2018 cross-brand architecture.
Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing my hypotheses (and findings) as I forge ahead.
Global Director, Retail Sales
This is the second installment of the Tech in Retail series.
Click here to view: blog #3
To view more posts within the series click here: Tech & Finance Series
1 National Retail Federation. “2015 National Retail Federation Data.” 06 January 2015.