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Does Retailing Have a Future?

July 26th, 2012 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Are retail stores becoming obsolete? In a new report by Capgemini Global, more than half of respondents around the world say that by 2020, retail locations will be nothing more than “showrooms” for choosing products and ordering them online.

GigaOm took a look at how bigger companies are fighting showrooming by blending the online and offline shopping experience. Walmart, Macy’s, Sears and others are adding features such as pickup locations for products ordered online, payment booths, drive-through customer service centers and other services that cater to however customers want to shop.

How can a small retailer compete in this world of the future? One way is by understanding the six different types of digital shoppers The Capgemini report identified:

  1. Social Digital Shoppers (25 percent): Mostly under age 35, they are heavy social media users and like sharing opinions and experiences online. They are also heavy mobile users and willing to pay with mobile devices.
  2. Digital Shopaholics (18 percent): These early adopters are the most active in using digital shopping and devices such as smartphone apps and in-store technology.
  3. Occasional Online Shoppers (16 percent): The majority of these shoppers are over 45. They rarely shop online, but when they do, they go online mostly to select and compare items and to track deliveries.
  4. Rational Online Shoppers (15 percent): The second most active online shopper group, they prefer shopping online but don’t care about social media or mobile apps.
  5. Value Seekers (13 percent): These price-sensitive shoppers are mostly women. They don’t care much about new technology; the main reason they shop online is to find the best prices on products they already plan to buy.
  6. Techno-Shy Shoppers (13 percent): This group isn’t confident in using digital channels or devices and don’t think they’re important in any phase of the shopping process.

As you can see, nearly every type of shopper is going online to some degree, so if your brick-and-mortar store doesn’t yet have an ecommerce strategy, you need to develop one. If your ecommerce site doesn’t have a mobile strategy, you need to develop one. And even if you do have a mobile strategy, you need to keep refining it…or get left behind in the future of retail.

Image by Flickr user L. Marie (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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