Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Larry Goodfellow
The Giants Weakening
This week in Toronto the Hudson’s Bay Company reported a net loss of $142 million in its second-quarter compared to last year’s same period net earnings of $59 million. But The Bay isn’t the only retail giant that is facing hardships with the changing times of online shopping, as online retail giants like Amazon.com are causing retailers to rethink the way they do business. The U.S. retailer Macy’s has faced similar if not worse conditions as they shut down close to 100 department stores. The change in purchasing habits have caused giants like Walmart to expand into the online market, with their recent 3 billion dollar purchase of Jet.com a new, highly popular e-commerce site. With these changing habits retail giants have been scrambling to keep up with the changes and the longer they take the more money they lose.
A recent report by Vendhq.com provides a detailed forecast of what the future of retail holds for this coming year. Their first prediction is that retailers will offer more payment options. This includes PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. The second prediction is that mobile will be more incorporated into payment and pickup. Kohl’s recently enabled customers to buy through their phone and then pick up the item in-store. Sam’s Club are now using notifications to be sent to the purchaser’s phone when the item they ordered has arrived in-store. Nordstrom are streamlining the purchase and in-store pick up experience to accommodate mobile phones.
Data Will be Shared
Another prediction is that data will no longer be left to be studied in silos. Companies like Barneys’ are starting to combine online data with offline data for a more complete picture of their customers. This has taken some time but we believe that Vendhq is on the money with this prediction. The fierce competition in the marketplace is pushing innovation and not allowing for data to remain within certain departments, hence why we have seen such increased interest in market research online community software.
The other interesting trend that Vend predicts is that traditional loyalty programs are on their way out. This is not to say that modern consumers don’t enjoy rewards and promotions but that it doesn’t seem as important. In a study by MasterCard only 18% of respondents saw promotions as important. They cite how the same study found that “in choosing a retailer, omnichannel shoppers prioritize value, track record and convenience, over loyalty rewards.” They go on to state that while loyalty programs are still important, the successful retailers will offer “personalized rewards, coupled with great products and convenient buying experiences.” As a retailer using mobile optimized online communities to understand your customers is a crucial way to get useable data to make beneficial changes.
Changing to Adapt
While the retail industry appears to be in a state of flux, those that use this time to change and reformat for the new future of shopping which combines online with bricks and mortar, flexible payment options, and streamlined personal rewards, convenience and a pleasurable customer experience will reign supreme. We believe that in order for a retailer to stay on top of the changes and expectations of their customers that an online research community is essential.
If you would like to talk with us about how our qualitative research for online communities can help shape your company feel free to contact us.
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