The Constant Change of the Retail Landscape

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!

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One Response to The Constant Change of the Retail Landscape

  1. Edward Vestergaard November 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    In our modern society, technology has intertwined itself into everyday life. Smartphones particularly have sent the world into a craze since they’re a powerful source of communication, information, and entertainment. Collectively, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that one spends many hours a week on a smartphone, and more still on other forms of tech like laptops, tablets, etc. Because we spend such a considerable amount of time on these devices, we tend to conduct our daily affairs online for conveniences’ sake; it’s much easier than going to a store and purchasing the same goods. Granted, making the effort to venture to a brick-and-mortar is rewarding in its own right since goods will be brought back for immediate use. However, people live very busy lives and sometimes cannot get to where they’d like go, therefore turn to online retailers to browse / purchase certain items. But whether one buys from Amazon or a local brick-and-mortar, consumers expect efficiency and quality customer-service. With thousands of company’s vying for attention, e-commerce has become mercilessly competitive in the pursuit of perfection. An interactive, responsive website coupled with fast, affordable delivery is the new norm as consumers are increasingly intolerant of failure, demanding “a seamless shopping experience” from any retailer (Benady). Truly a testament to Darwin’s “survival of the fittest,” e-commerce challenges competency and shows zero remorse for those trampled by bitchy remarks on social media. In short, technology has transformed consumers into greedy, impatient demons who intentionally pressure retailers to meet their high expectations; otherwise, they’ll ditch for someone who can.

    Author Jimmy Farney asks whether or not “retailers today are prepared enough…to conform to this new type of consumer effectively.” After reading the article he hyperlinked, I believe retailers have done all they possible can to accommodate even the most difficult of consumer. I was stunned to learn that some have gone as far as to request clothes being sent to their homes to be tried on, then returned free of cost. Personally, I think that’s absolutely absurd that someone would have the audacity to make such a request, or even worse, that an online retailer would actually comply with the request. In a sense, it’s almost shameful what retails would do for money- where would they draw the line? I understand the desire to outcompete one’s competitors and possibly pioneer a trendy strategy, but there’s only so much variation in advertising goods online to eventually ship them out. However, standing out from the pack requires some creativity- especially when it comes to the website. In essence, consumers are like flies attracted to the light: anything bright and shiny is worth investigating. With tiny attention spans, consumers who don’t feel drawn in or engaged will quickly leave a site in search of one that’s more appealing. Therefore, a simply laid-out website with vibrant colors and photo collages will certainly keep interest- potentially long enough to where a consumer might even buy something. Farney also notes a fear that “retailers aren’t going to keep up with the going demands of the consumer,” but trails off without much elaboration. In response, I feel that his assessment is a bit misguided; retailers and consumers must work in tandem for e-commerce to work- there must be reasonable amounts of give-and-take. Conclusively, consumers must realize retailer-limitation and appreciate their efforts to ensure a satisfactory transaction.

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