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Expert: Retail's trends to watch
Ask a retail veteran and they might tell you the best thing about retail is that it always changes. Season to season, trend to trend, nothing stays the same for long. One expert believes there are trends from the 2015 holiday season which can be used an indicators to where retailers need to go next.
Kristina: What trends are you seeing in the retail space now?
Amit Sharma, Founder & CEO, Narvar: People remember the experience, not the product. Today customer loyalty is driven by consistently delightful brand experiences at every stage from research to purchasing and beyond. Increasingly, savvy retailers are discovering that post-purchase has huge potential to win customers' hearts in an era where pricing is no longer the top differentiator. Customers remember the great post-purchase experiences, such as tracking their package in real time, receiving personalized messages from the retailer and opening a simple yet slick box from Apple or Tiffany's. Retailers that can deliver post-purchase moments will differentiate themselves from the pack and join the ranks of beloved brands.
The state of inventory is expanding. Most online purchases are shipped from stores and warehouses, but increasingly customers want the flexibility and choice of how and where they receive their products. Ten years ago, there were three to five carriers that delivered packages, and that was it. Thanks to Walmart and Amazon, package delivery has expanded to regional carriers. Now even micro-carriers like Postmates and Uber are delivering e-commerce purchases and giving customers more delivery options.
Kristina: What lessons can retailers take from 2015 to improve their game?
Amit: Give customers visibility and control. Companies like Amazon, Uber and DoorDash all gained immense success in their respective industries because of a core commonality: they put customers in the driver's seat. With the click of a button, individuals can find out the exact location of their package, car or meal and then customize that delivery. This is the experience that customers now expect from retailers too. For retailers to improve their game, they must be transparent with customers throughout the product journey, as well as strategic about personalizing this piece of the customer lifecycle.
Invest in technology to connect in-store and online experiences. Creating a cohesive customer experience across channels requires technology that keeps track of customer interactions on mobile devices, in store and online. For example, Nordstrom is known for its great customer experience because they were savvy enough to realize the gap in customer experience and the need for an omni-channel experience.
More from Amit next week, including his solutions to the three biggest challenges facing retailers.
Image via Shutterstock
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