What Do Successful Retailers Have in Common?

No two retailers are created alike. Their customers’ unique needs and the type of services they offer will lead to different strategies. But at the core of all successful retailers lies one idea: they understand the importance of being able to conduct retail efforts anywhere, at any point in time.

It’s rare – and no longer profitable – for retailers to sell exclusively via ecommerce or brick and mortar. While that strategy might have made sense a decade ago, combining the benefits of both shopping experiences will ensure retailers stay relevant in the future. Here are a few ways retailers are achieving the now-universal aspect of shopping consumers have come to expect.

Mobile capabilities to interact anywhere

Adopting mobile retail capabilities provides retailers the ability to interact with consumers from anywhere, in any situation. For example, a busy family can order groceries from their kitchen, or preorder and pay for a coffee at the convenience store from the comfort of their car. Mobile capabilities also gives retailers the opportunity to reach shoppers at different stages of their journey, whether that’s the awareness stage at home, or while they’re shopping in-store, searching for reviews or additional information about a product. 

Last year’s Black Friday – a traditional brick-and-mortar shopping day – saw online sales reach $7.4 billion, the second largest online shopping day ever behind 2018’s Cyber Monday. This highlights consumers’ expectation that a retailer be available and accessible online and via a mobile device.

Dark stores to improve fulfillment

Successful retailers have already started to utilize dark stores, or stores that are used solely as distribution centers. Brick and mortar retailers hold this advantage over Amazon as they have an existing distribution network with “warehouses” close to consumers: their stores. 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, shoppers who have experienced successful delivery, curbside pickup and ecommerce services will likely continue these habits in the future.

What’s more, limiting the number of customers in-store and enforcing social distancing will likely deter shoppers from choosing physical retail. Dark stores can help retailers oversee BOPIS, delivery and last mile processes with more efficiency. 

Both grocers and retailers – including Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond – are doing just that. Whether making their stores completely dark, or choosing to utilize stores as a showroom, physical retailers can meet the instant gratification demands of consumers.

Technology that meets unique needs

Retailers need to be much more aware when it comes to understanding the most beneficial technology for their vertical, and for each type of consumer purchase. For example, it doesn’t make sense for grocers to have best-in-class clienteling solutions that tell shoppers the differentiating features around everyday products like butter or milk. Instead, grocers need solutions that focus on replenishment, convenience, speed, and ease of delivery.

Similarly, apparel retailers require technology that supports the social and experiential event that is shopping. And those in the hospitality business should focus on secure point of sale and payments technology that drives service, quality and convenience.

Understanding customers at the core

The common denominator of successful retailers is understanding how and why their target customers shop, and then delivering on that expectation. Once they understand this, retailers can establish the flexible technology that meets those needs, such as mobile capabilities and dark stores.

Do you have the right solutions to fit your shopper’s needs?