“eMarketer reported that global e-commerce sales hit $1.3 trillion at the end of 2014, an increase of 22 percent over 2013. Meanwhile, growth at U.S. retail outlets is in the low single digits, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce collected by Business Insider.”
Does that mean that the prospects are bad for small mom and pop brick-and-mortar stores?
I believe it’s an opportunity. The big stores are getting smaller. Lots of their businesses (such as Macy’s) are selling more on the Internet and less within their stores. Stores like BestBuy see lots of showrooming. Customers come into a store, find what they want and wind up shopping for a better price at a different store on the Internet. Smaller chain stores are running into similar problems.
As a small business owner, you have plenty of shoppers ready to buy now. You can make changes far faster than the “big” guys.
Here’s what the future holds:
1. Retail stores will embrace showrooming. You see what you want, order it at the store, and wait for it to come to your house (maybe by drone?).
2. Analytics will be commonplace in physical stores. As you walk through a store, cameras will figure out what you are interested in then broadcast video ads through the store that you are most interested in. Just like the Internet, when you enter a business, you will be identified as being a previous shopper and those ads will keep popping up as you walk through the store. Ads will also start popping up on your smartphone as you walk through the store.
3. Payments and transactions will become totally transparent. Paying for merchandise will be so easy that you probably won’t even know that you have been charged (well, perhaps somewhat of an exaggeration).
4. Retailers will make better use of sensory technology that can detect when consumers react positively or negatively to things such as signs, product displays and interactions with sales associates.
5. Technology Will Become the New Sales Assistant. Yes. A computer or robot will welcome you into the store. Who knows? Maybe the robots will be trained to text each other and follow you through the store aisles! We will see more self-checkout counters. Sales professionals will not disappear. They will focus on building customer relationships.
It’s time to start figuring out how you can benefit from the new trends.
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