While the retail landscape is still recovering from the aches and pains of the pandemic, it is also adapting to the shifting mindsets that have evolved during that time. While simultaneously catching up as customers pull back in the midst of a looming recession. In light of these concerns, retailers are adapting like never before and keeping their customer’s needs top of mind in order to innovate and push forward. So what does a retailer have to be aware of during these unsettling times and which trends hold key opportunities for retailers?
Social commerce on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook provide a new way for customers to shop. This works in an integrated way on these platforms with influencers partnering with brands to encourage sales and develop leads within the platform itself. This offers a new opportunity for retailers as now they can provide new ways of bringing their brands directly into the hands of their customers and selling to them without ever leaving the platform. This brings brands into more direct contact with the customer and drives even more sales.
Online and pick-up services
The simpler the buying process, the better the chance of making a sale. With this in mind, retailers are finding new ways for customers to connect instantly to their products with QR codes, mobile point-of-sales, online shopping options or instore-pick ups. These options offer the customer far more flexibility and allow the customer to buy instantly in a frictionless environment where there are multiple contactless payment options on offer.
While this should always remain the case, more than ever, the customer is central to every operation with retailers tuning into the spectrum of customer needs and desires. In fact, the retailer cannot afford to overlook the customer’s needs and experience at any point in the process. This requires an element of synchronicity between marketing, sales, operations and product allowing the process to be frictionless, enjoyable and ultimately pleasurable for the customer. Central to this process is collecting strong data on the customer and then integrating it in intelligent ways across the business in order to improve service.
Customers are showing a preference for an omnichannel environment which integrates online and in-store systems. While we haven't yet seen completely streamlined versions of this in South Africa, things are moving in that direction. At the heart of this strategy is the need to simplify the customer’s experience by using data and tech to improve the buying journey and intuiting the customer’s buying behaviour in order to attend to their needs in both the online and offline retail environments.
The bottom line
Seizing new opportunities for innovative growth is a necessary aspect of every retailer's strategy and new trends offer a valuable opportunity for a fresh perspective. This requires the retailer to remain curious and open-minded. Often the worry is rooted in the inevitable costs of innovation but there are retail-driven funding options available which can deliver working capital in innovative ways. Contact Merchant Capital to find out more and you could fund your business’s ambitious growth in the next 48 hours.