Consumers flock back to in-store shopping
As consumers return to their old in-store shopping habits, the outlook for traditional retailers is brighter, especially for those embracing unified commerce to deliver a seamless shopping experience.
Today, many store-centric retailers have reported improving results, with more stores opening in the US last year than closing, for the first time since 1995.
Physical stores can do what websites cannot by creating immersive brand experiences and connecting with local communities and customers. In contrast, pure-play eCommerce retailers are struggling to build customer loyalty because competition is just a click away. In addition, they are struggling with higher costs due to increases in CAC and returns management.
However, digital natives have a few advantages over traditional retailers, as they tend to have a much better handle on customer data, which allows them to better predict their needs and wants, and they have a supply chain optimized for eCommerce.
Traditional retailers have realized the need to digitize their processes and improve their supply chains to better compete with digital natives.
A good example is Walmart, the retail giant with more than 10,500 stores in the United States and other countries. Walmart is acquiring Volt Systems, a software company focused on supplier management and product tracking. With Volt’s technology, Walmart wants to enable suppliers to plan, forecast and optimize product assortment. This will provide customers with a more seamless omnichannel experience, with less out-of-stock friction.
The acquisition is part of Walmart’s unified commerce strategy, which aims to make it easier for its customers to shop the way they choose, whether it’s picking up their orders in the car, going to the store or simply shopping on the web from home – in other words, creating a seamless shopping experience across all of its channels.
This hybrid business model is a trend that is likely to continue, both for physical retailers looking to enhance their offering with digital brands, and for digital natives hoping that a physical presence will allow them to attract new customers and create greater brand loyalty.
After ensuring their message is in front of the customer in digital spaces, retailers need strategies that enable a seamless transition from the digital to the physical world.
As customers return to physical stores, retailers must be prepared to effectively engage, engage, communicate and retain new and existing customers.
Unified commerce strategies are a clear example of how retailers are looking for opportunities to further engage with their customers.