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  • Yobie Benjamin

How Retailers Can Thrive in the Age of Disruption

Updated: Nov 8, 2018



The retail industry continues to struggle, and the Chapter 11 filings are at an all-time high. In the US alone, 13 retail giants have already filed for bankruptcy or liquidation this year, and the number is expected to grow even more. The reason behind it is plain and straightforward – shopping habits have changed, and they no longer meet customers’ needs. They have failed to step up their game and give customers a reason to visit their physical location by not providing any added experience. They have also neglected their online presence by making online shopping more of a headache rather than a pleasant, convenient and time-saving option in today’s fast-paced world. Stop blaming Amazon for your failing e-commerce business The easy excuse for floundering sales is to point the finger at Amazon. Yes, Amazon has the specific advantage of being one of the first players in the digital retail arena, but it’s not the reason why your online business is performing poorly. The truth is that many retailers have been treating their e-commerce business as a second-class citizen don’t recognizing its real potential. In today’s digital age where choices are limitless, and anything is accessible by a click of a button, it is inevitable to be on top of your online game and continuously innovate. The trend that has been reshaping the e-commerce landscape is omnichannel retailing. In today's connected world, retailers have to be able to seamlessly interact with their customers through various channels – not only their website but also social media, connected televisions and gaming consoles, smart appliances and physical stores or kiosks. However, simple adoption of omnichannel strategy doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, omnichannel is so 2014! It's a retail strategy from five years ago and if you don’t even have an omnichannel infrastructure today, you’re on your way to closing your business. It’s all about a personalized experience The demands of today’s consumers are incredibly high, and if you don’t wow them, you lose them. The delight of the consumer has never been more critical. It is crucial to turn your digital presence into a personalized, exciting and engaging shopping experience. With the abundance of data from search and shopping behaviors and with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can easily create an immersive and engaging experience for every of your customers. By providing personalized shopping environment, you will not only increase their loyalty, but most importantly you will turn your online customers into your fans and essentially repeated customers. It is essential to keep in mind that the experience is not created just by having a stunning website and showing personalized product recommendations but by your ability to overcome what the digital world is missing - the lack of touch, smell and feel. The zoom-in functions, 360-degree views or product videos are no longer enough. You need to look into new technologies such as augmented and mixed reality. Today’s modern mobile phones all have augmented reality capabilities. Do not be afraid to use these technologies because your customers are already using them. Their potential for enhancing customers experience is tremendous and will either make you or break you. They will completely redefine the way people are trying apparel or makeup on while shopping online. They will disrupt furniture shopping by giving consumers the ability to buy from the comfort of their home and check how a couch or a table look and fit in their room. Do you realize that Snapchat and Apple’s animojis point to an even more immersive trend in the future of online shopping? The transformative experiences your customers have with their phones and applications such as Snapchat and Facebook will become part of their experience expectations as they buy their next wardrobe, living room sets or pretty much anything else. Seeing the big brown couch on an immersive overlay in their living room is going to be the standard, not a novelty. Retailers who ignore these technology trends are doomed to become the Kmart and Sears of the next few years – bankrupt, dying or dead. We live in the age of engagement and delight. Consumer expectations are moving at light speed. As Gen X and Millennials become the primary consumers displacing Baby Boomers, the success of your online business has to adopt at the same pace. To survive and strengthen your bottom line you needs to be lockstep or even slightly ahead of the curve. #retaildisruption #ecommerce #artificialinteligence #machinelearning #animojis