The coronavirus pandemic has transformed brick-and-mortar business, possibly forever. Peter Paine, former eBay and Walmart executive and now head of retail partnerships in the Americas for Cover Genius, checked in with Street Fight to share the strategies physical businesses large and small should prioritize to prepare for the near- and long-term future.
According to Gartner, in 2020 100 million customers will shop in augmented reality, both online and in-store. With these numbers in mind, it’s about time to jump on the AR bandwagon and start reaping the benefits of stellar customer engagement, improved conversion rates, and wider reach.
Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.
Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.
A week before it ran several online classes, Practical Martial Arts didn’t have a video strategy or an online conferencing platform, and the couple was terrified about what the stay-at-home order meant for their beloved business, their customers, and their employees. But in a couple days they were able to pivot. And you can, too.
If you’re looking to offer online versions of your in-person business or are simply looking to connect online while we ride this out, below are some tips and resources to help you go virtual, too.
Ecommerce is now a staple in everyday life, so much so that Americans spent $154.5 billion online in the third quarter of 2019, according to a US Census estimate. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced business for the near future to be almost completely online.
While this transition will take some getting used to, it also affords the opportunity to reach across conventional borders. We’ve moved beyond the novelty of being able to buy something online and receive it quickly. As we look to what the next 25 years have in store, continued success in the ecommerce world depends on superior customer experience — meeting customers where they are and when they need it most.
Chatbots are helping resolve customer service issues when businesses are closed and call centers are slammed, but brick-and-mortar stores are still struggling to adapt to an online-only business format. Pure play ecommerce outlets have spent years developing systems to manage transactions and verify customer identities, but most retailers on Main Street are accustomed to seeing shoppers in person and visually checking IDs.
A San Francisco-based startup called Persona is offering to help those local businesses adapt by giving away its online ID verification service for free during the COVID-19 crisis.
The answer to solving the personalization dilemma lies in data. Retailers that are able to both harness and analyze data will be able to make the calculated decisions to improve their customer experience and give shoppers the personalized process they desire. However, only 27% of global retail and wholesale purchase influencers say that improving the use of data insights is currently a top priority. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can help dissect the data retailers receive, but it starts with the desire and capability of getting smarter about customer experience.
Wholesale ecommerce retailer Boxed is taking its position as team leader seriously. The company pays for its employees’ kids to go to college. It looked at the industry-wide “pink tax” and started a campaign against the higher prices. It even started contributing $20,000 to pay for employees’ weddings.
A report from B2C marketing and analytics company Zaius shows that many companies, though they claim to be spotlighting personalization and segmentation as a way to engage customers, are actually not capably following through.
Prime Day brings noticeable increases in shopping, he says, but not at Black Friday levels. There is, however, a spillover effect on Prime Day, Criteo CEO Jaysen Gillespie says, and smaller retailers can benefit from the foot traffic drawn to anchor stores at shopping centers.
The days of viewing online and offline retail as completely separate are long-gone. Now major players such as Walmart look for ways to mesh online activity with their in-store operations. The ways these different channels of retail have become intertwined was at the heart of a panel discussion at Street Fight Summit in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
To have any chance for long term survival, retailers and brands need to bring more technology to bear in operating their businesses, enabling them to work smarter, not harder. Here are some strategic ways big retailers can use technology.
In many ways, Bonobos has become a model for e-commerce startups. Although the New York City-based company started out as an online-only men’s retailer in 2007, it has since expanded its physical presence with real world stores spread across the U.S.
This morning e-commerce fashion marketplace Tradesy is announcing an extended partnership with Happy Returns, a consumer returns startup that offers in-person returns for online retailers. Tradesy found that customers overwhelmingly preferred to return their online purchases in-person rather than by mail.
Getting the right product in front of the right consumer at the right time is the holy grail for both online and offline retailers, and it’s being made easier by new tailored recommendation platforms that use natural language interactions to assist shoppers across multiple digital channels.
New technology platforms are making it possible for online retailers of all sizes to expand locally into brick-and-mortar outlets. In other cases, technology is taking a back seat as e-commerce businesses form old-fashioned partnerships with stores on main street.
social media, data and analytics, and mobile—especially geotargeting—are the hot technology investments for marketing and commerce. The investment in data and analytics is in part driven by the biggest overall industry challenge, online-to-offline attribution measurement, and one of the most difficult issues facing individual companies, proving ROI to customers.
With a shift to mobile websites, most mobile marketing dynamics will remain, although implementation for sites versus apps will be more than nuanced. Mobile search is already undergoing shifts, and listings management must take into account the role of the mobile platforms, maps, and, probably, Amazon.