In a perfect world, we would seamlessly integrate technology and retail to make a happy consumer. Although, as we can imagine-this is not as easy as it sounds. The new concept of retail is to make goods available through an online platform and the integration of mobile apps. However, this leads a lot of room for error.
The consumer today is far less willing to tolerate failure, and this article that I found captures the concept of this demanding consumer, a new platform for eCommerce, and the discussion that some retailers are having about this changing landscape. Take a look at this article, and think about what they are saying-do you feel that the retailers today are prepared enough, or taking necessary preparations, to conform to this new type of consumer effectively?
After reading this, I personally was left wondering what will happen to the retail industry if the current major retailers do not effectively leverage the widespread use technological advancements and online based platforms. I fear that the retailers are not going to keep up with the growing demands of the consumer, and a quickly evolving consumer at that!
Determining Personal Solutions – How Are We Going to Deal With Disruption?
Determining the solution(s) to tackling disruption has been a leading question we have been discussing throughout this course. Our primary solution for dealing with disruption is awareness complemented by interest. There are numerous platforms to enhance awareness of technology disruption in education, healthcare, media, music, personal computing, transportation, etc., just take a look at the findings each group has made. This information has been acquired through outside sources from Fast Company, which is my personal favorite, to Mashable, there are numerous ways to become aware. However, what strikes awareness is interest. With interest the possibilities to dealing with disruption are uniquely various.
Determining Business Solutions – How Can Businesses Help Employees Deal With Disruption?
One factor that was addressed in our discussion was a subscription service called Lynda.com. This service helps anyone with an interest learn new skills to meet academic, professional, and individual goals. A business’s investment in this type of software can be monumental for employees in terms of preparing for disruption.
Giving the term “Disruption” Awareness – Does “Disruption” differ from “Change”? “change”.
It is more impactful and carries different affects then what the definition of “change” provides. The two are different and this can be one possibility for the lack awareness. If the term “disruption” was given a formal definition then people might become more responsive to its existence, as opposed to considering that the drone that just flew right above them was a “change”.
Analyzing the Brick and Mortar Experience – Will stores disappear?
We have concluded that brick and mortar stores are still in existence because of the experience they provide. The experience provided is a salvage point for physical stores. Thus, although the inside of a store might change (new designs, shortage of workers, new selling tactics, price matching strategies, etc.) the stance of a store will not disappear, because people will not want to abandon the experience of walking into a store whenever they like.
Although this is our final deliverable, remember you can deal with Disruption with devoting an interest to trends and be aware, so here are a few retail disruption themed sites to keep you up to date on retail disruption!
If one watches a movie or a reality show set back as little as ten years ago, about the rich and famous, one thing they had that most people don’t is a personal stylist. A personal stylist is a person that studies your personal tastes in clothing, keeps up with trends, and presents current clothes that fit your style for you to buy. One could argue that a personal stylist has to have a certain creative trait about them, however what if that creative trait could be translated as an algorithm on a computer? Well those personal stylists out there better figure it out considering that time is here. Our technology is gradually disrupting the job market, some are already aware of that as who ever is reading this blog should be. A big assumption however is that the jobs being replaced by technology are strictly mathematical, or strategic jobs. You could easily assume that technology could not do what a person does, like creativity for example. But never say never in this world, in order to deal with disruption one must stay aware and expect the unexpected.
One example of the online personal shopper/ stylist would be this web site Keaton Row. They start out asking you a bunch of questions about your style, show you pictures asking you to choose what you like, and then give you style advice. Its one of tons of fashion websites that do the same like Fabletics, JustFab, and ShoeDazzle. Also BirchBox and BirchBox Man do similar things.
The example in the beginning was about fashion but personal selling is being disrupted from more angles than just fashion. Health and personal products of any kind are being disrupted. People used to go to other people with certification for advice but now it is so much cheaper, easier, and more convenient to go to your phone or computer. Plus you have access to opinions of either hundreds of reviews, or a system that asks you what you like and based on that comes up with options you would like. Both are options that are taking people by storm, while leaving many without jobs. It really is a double edged sword.
We have constant access to almost everything due to the internet. We are able to tell how much a sweater is at Walmart to how much it is at J.Crew to how much it is at a small boutique in Idaho. With technology giving us access to everything, companies have become very price transparent. We know how much a product is at any store in any location.
For example, a Louis Vuitton bag in Europe is significantly less than the prices in America and the only way you would know that is because of the internet and the access we have to the world. With the smart phone we have become smart consumers. Today’s customers are well informed on what they want, where they want it from, and how much they will pay for it. They go into the store knowing a lot more about the products than the consumer used to know. We used to go into the store and ask the salesperson for what we should get.
A major problem companies are facing today is showrooming. Since consumers know that they can buy a product online for a cheaper price, they go into the store to actually look at and hold the product. Companies like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot are facing this issue because Amazon has the same products for a cheaper price. Also, consumers just stay at home and do some online shopping in their pajamas and the product shows up at their door in a mere 2 days.
To combat showrooming, companies have realized that they can use their price transparency to their benefit. Since we know how much products are at other stores we choose the cheapest option. Companies are now using a Price Match Guarantee. This means that if the consumer brings in proof that the same product you are buying is cheaper at a different place, you can get it that price. This means that competition will not be based on the price of the products now because you will be able to get the same price everywhere. Now, the competition will be based on brand loyalty, convenience, preference, and experience. Companies have to set themselves apart from each other in different ways because prices will be the same.
In our Deliverable 2 you watched a YouTube video of each member of the group sharing feedback on research conducted on each of the 4 Cs. I explored the idea of the customer (you and me) and how they relate to the three P’s of Marketing (Product, Placement, Promotion). Also taking into account the past, present, and future to exemplify our research process.
Take a look at the Customer integration of research complied into an animated video. Here you can see how the customer experience will change in the retail industry.
Mobile applications are instrumental platforms that allow the retailer to become one with customer and remove the barrier between the two. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the tagline “there is an app for that” has become modern language and a way of life. With that, the retail team downloaded three mobile apps and tried them.
Out of the applications that we chose to test (RedLaser, Pounce and Mallzee), RedLaser was the only app that actually was a reliable source. Pounce, which allows a user to take a picture of an item and purchase it right through the app, did not effectively work. It pulled up similar items, but not the actual item we wanted.
The other, Mallzee, was “awful” as my team members identified. This personal shopper app was not intuitive or helpful, in fact one of my team members uses Wanelo, which is an app that you can purchase items through in one place.
It is interesting to note that the applications that claim to be intuitive and helpful, are actually not helpful. I instead prefer to use apps such as the one for Nordstrom and Macy’s that are directly linked to the retailer. Let us know what your thoughts on the applications are, and if you have any other applications that ease the interactions with the retailer!
Vests may be in today but, tomorrow high waisted jeans are so in. Fashion is constantly changing and just like that the retail industry is constantly evolving. I focused on the cost of retail and how it has changed over the years. I broke down the information I found into the Past, Present, and Future. I further divided it into the Price of Goods, Occupancy Costs, and Marketing Costs. This helped organize this information and easily compare all the information. The common disruptor in all three is technology. With new machines and softwares, producing goods has become a lot cheaper and easier. It is more efficient than a human. This technology has replaced the actual store and salespeople too because now people focus on online shopping.
We started in the past with a higher cost to produce due to having little to no technology. There were occupancy costs associated with the store, holding areas, and factories. They also had to hire more employees to sell and produce goods. Most of their marketing budget went towards billboards, tv/radio ads, and print ads.
We go into the present where we are surrounded by technology and see that the price of producing has gone down because we have replaced humans with more efficient and fast machines. The occupancy costs are similar to the past. Today, companies focus on digital marketing with website, social media, and targeted advertisements.
Looking towards the future, a big question comes up. Will there be a brick and mortar store? What will companies do with online ad blocking softwares? How cheap will it become to produce goods with faster and smarter technology? Find out more about the Disruption in the Cost of Retail in this video!
It is no doubt that the culture of retail has changed. When you look at the outline of my findings, you can see that disruption has really changed the way we interact with the retail industry. Even the physical store was changed to reflect a more innovated design. The use of mobile technology has impacted not only communication by eCommerce. You can buy anything from your phone, via the internet or even a mobile application.
Thinking about the future, I was left puzzled. The trends went from solely a brick and mortar store, with tangible items to a robust online platform that uses technology to drive sales. Although, it looks as though the future is going to be a balancing act between the two. Stores will leverage an online platform as well as a store of sorts to continue to drive sales.
I personally feel as though we will become a seamless, technologically driven shopper, who uses the resources in our hands to purchase an item through a more convenient platform. I do not, however, feel as though the tangible store is gone for good. I instead feel that the way the store looks will change. It will be more technologically advanced on the inside, just like how their online platforms work.
Below is the summation video of my findings. Check it out and think about it for yourself. What do you think the future holds?
In our Deliverable 2 you watched a YouTube video of each member of the group sharing feedback on research conducted on each of the 4 Cs. The purpose of the video was to bring the Team one step closer to transforming our raw research findings in our Google Docs: Culture, Cost, Customer and Channel, to interactive videos with an informative message that will ultimately address how we are going to deal with Retail Disruption.
Take a look at the Channel integration of research complied into an animated video that traces how the marketing mix element placement or distribution has channeled through history and into the future, specifically in the retail industry.
The effects of retail disruption have transformed the cost of products, culture of stores, customer and channels of distribution. Just check out our experiential tag ShopTillWeDisrupt to see the breakdown of how each of these 4 C’s have transformed from the past to present. You can also see the implementation of retail disruption today by checking out our findings tag RetailDisruption.
After exploring the research the Retail Team has collected, we challenge you to take the Total Retail Shopping Quiz created by PWC. PWC asked “over 19,000 online shoppers from 19 different territories about their purchasing preferences, use of different shopping channels and expectations of retailers”. This quiz amplifies our research findings by introducing the global impact of retail disruption to create awareness on new shopping behaviors around the world. Go ahead and quiz yourself by taking the PWC Total Retail Shopping Quiz before continuing to read.
Just as all members of the Retail Team did, you probably got at least one if not more questions wrong. However, you still have a chance at being a retail disruption guru by reading the explanations for each correct answer. We have researched each answer in order to provide you with an explanation, so that you can be prepared for the quiz of retail disruption that’s approaching with a quicker deadline and shorter time constraint than any other quiz.
Note: The questions and answers listed below are all provided by the PWC Total Retail Shopping Quiz. Any and all explanations are provided based on citations which are hyperlinked under Resources.
Question: The country which shoppers are most likely to have purchased items directly using social media Answer: Chile Explanation: Chile statistically has proven to be the number one country for social media activity surpassing the United States.
However, it important to determine what platforms Chilean shoppers are using, what products are they buying, and why they prefer online opposed to the store experience. Chilean shoppers are using the following platforms listed in order of popularity based on most popular to least popular: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, YouTube, VKontakte, Digg or Other. Chilean shoppers also use sites such as Lan.com,Falabella and Mercado Libre to make three major purchases online, electronics, tickets to events and plane tickets. A few reasons why shoppers, including but not limited to Chilean shoppers, use social media for shopping are: price comparison, finding ideas, researching gifts, seeking deals, sharing purchases, finding recommendations, and getting validation of purchases from peers.
Resources: Graphics, Information on popular social media, Information on major purchases, Information on shoppers using social media
Question: The number one reason shoppers don’t use their mobile, smartphone, tablet or PC for shopping Answer: Small screen size Explanation: Shoppers have started to integrate almost everything on to devices, including mobile baking. However, consumers still seem resistant to make purchases straight from their devices. Below is a graphic highlighting the main reasons why consumers have this resistance. However, from the quality of the image it might be difficult to read. This is a coincidental example of why consumers do not make purchases from their devices, images are never large enough, clear enough and of sufficient quality to guarantee a purchase.
A few ways companies can overcome a shopper not being able to determine the quality of a product from his or her device is to adjust: size, zoom functionality, alignment and margins, shadows, backgrounds and more. Resources: Information and graphic on why consumers do not use their devices to shop
Question: The first step shoppers taken when researching a purchase Answer: Go to a search engine Explanation: Instead of visiting a physical store, visiting a companies website or reading reviews for a product on social media, a shoppers first step is to go a search engine. Shoppers go straight to the search engine to read product reviews before making a purchase, sales, warranty information, shipping information, availability, payment information, model information, and more. The top shopping search engines are: Google Shopping, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, Amazon Product Ads, eBay Commerce Network, Become, Nextag, Pronto, and more. Resources: Information on why shoppers use search engines, Information on top shopping search engines
Question: The in-store technology that would make a shopping experience even better Answer: Ability to use your mobile phone to pay Explanation: Mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay have been available for shoppers to make purchases. However, these mobile payment applications like LoopPay,Venmo, Square Cash,Google Wallet, Tilt, Dwolla, LevelUp and more, have not been entirely successful. Some of the risks associated to each application that may be causing its downfall are fear of fraud, the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing something wrong, and the fear of identity theft. Resources:Information on mobile payment applications, Information on mobile payment fears
Question: The percentage of shoppers that said it did not matter to them whether they purchased items from a retailer or a product manufacturer Answer: 49% Explanation: The explanation for this question determines why shoppers do not have a major preference from purchased items from a retailer versus purchase items from a product manager. Perhaps their is not a preference because pricing is the same, thus there is no incentive for a shopper to chose the retailer over a product manufacturer or vice versa.
Question: The category of products that shoppers make the most purchases online for in the last 12 months Answer: Books, music and video games Explanation: The explanation to why shoppers purchase books, music and video games more than groceries, clothing and toys, is pricing differences from purchasing online then a store. Also, shoppers like how websites can make recommendations or suggestions for their next good read, favorite playlist or new video game. This makes the shopping experience easier.
Question: The preferred payment method for 18-24 year olds Answer: Debit card Explanation: The reason why shoppers (not only 18-24 year olds) prefer to use debit cards as opposed to cash, credit cards and mobile phone pay is the debit cards association to electronic cash. Cash can be removed from a checking account instantaneously. This adds to the 18-24 year old demand for simplicity and efficiency. Resources: Information on why shoppers prefer debit cars
Now that you have all the explanations to pass the retail disruption quiz, we encourage you to think about a major shopping holiday that’s fast approaching. It has been called Black Friday for years, but retail disruption has given it a new name. So we want to ask you is it, Black Friday or Cyber Friday?