The store of the future will become the most powerful media channel available to a brand, offering customer experiences that are the most profitable product a retailer can sell. But to get there, retail as we know it must die.
According to the study, 60% of retailers consider Amazon at least somewhat of a competitor. These companies also continue to grapple with free shipping, email communications and better access to customer data to mimic what Amazon does best: provide highly personalized and convenient experiences for customers.
Specifically, 63% of retailers believe free shipping for loyalty program members is one of Amazon’s most impactful consumer-facing technology initiatives. Yet, only 10% of retailers have significantly increased investment in technology to better compete with Amazon. Meanwhile, 29% of retailers haven’t even changed their data collection and analysis processes as a result of Amazon’s influence.
Today's consumers expect to shop when they want and get what they need as quickly as possible, so it's no surprise that more and more retailers are offering omnichannel options. Every retailer has different priorities, but the goal is the same – to offer consumers the most streamlined, convenient and satisfying shopping experience imaginable. This means providing a retail experience that isn't either physical or digital anymore – but physical with digital. When it comes to fulfillment options, this means online purchase, in-store pickup.
The demand for buy online, pick up in store is higher than ever. According to Jarrett Streebin, CEO of San Francisco-based shipping firm EasyPost, in-store pickups for online purchases grew 15 percent in November, and will grow again in 2015. Unfortunately, many retailers are hesitant to implement this fulfillment model as a result of misguided perceptions. In reality, implementing in-store pickup is not nearly as expensive, complicated or narrowly-desired as they think. Here is the truth behind three common misconceptions about in-store pickup:
The onset of 2015 marked a huge change in shipping costs, and as a result retailers are struggling to find ways to maintain their bottom lines. As of Jan. 1, packages are now being evaluated by their “dimensional weight,” or volume, instead of determining price by weight alone. Experts say that the when combined with other annual rate hikes and surcharges, the resulting average rate increases will be as high as 30% or more.
Unfortunately, retailers are being forced to make sacrifices in the name of customer service in order to soften the blow. Some are raising free-shipping minimums, some are raising prices, and others are cutting free shipping altogether. But for the 68% of retailers already offering free delivery, cutting free shipping would take a serious toll on customer satisfaction.