Retail is an ever-evolving business. The landscape has changed dramatically from what it was just 20 short years ago. Waldenbooks, Sam Goody, and KB Toys have been swallowed whole by Amazon.com. Even the flea markets and garage sales have given way to eBay and Craigslist. Our generation is the last to hold fond memories of the Sears catalog. It’s not just the internet that’s tightening the noose on brick-and-mortar stores.
While D2C providers have certainly taken their toll, it is the failure to innovate and adapt that’s driving the nail in the coffin of traditional retailers. However, some organizations are refusing to go down without a fight, and are implementing new digital tactics to stay relevant in the modern retail environment.
Does 10 million people sound like a lot to you? How about 100 million, or even 500 million? What if you could talk to them every day and tell them about the great things happening in your store? Would that make a difference? Would it help drive more traffic to your locations?
Every month, over 1 billion people use Instagram, with 63 percent of those users logging in daily. To put it another way, 630 million people are on Instagram every day. And demographically, you couldn’t ask for a better split: 48 percent are male, and 52 percent are female users. In 2020, over 75 percent of U.S. businesses will use Instagram. If your business is part of the other 25 percent, you’re leaving millions of customers and millions of dollars on the table.
Many initiatives will keep the customers walking through your door. After all, there will never be a substitute for the personalized service that only comes from human interaction.
However, the digital revolution is upon us, and we must be prepared to service the modern customer, as well. Are you familiar with the term “shoppable posts?” The term is precisely what it sounds like. An item is posted on your Instagram page, which provides specifications, photos, and pricing. It’s then blind-linked to your website. If your customer wishes to purchase the item, they may do so at the push of a button and without ever having to leave their Instagram page. So, that 75 percent of businesses utilizing Instagram are allowing 630 million potential customers to purchase from them every single day easily.
PLM stands for Product Lifetime Management. It is software used by the retail industry to, well, manage the lifecycle of the products they sell. Fluctuating prices, changing styles, and advancing technology are all factors that affect supply and demand, and a strong PLM program can be a most-valuable resource when trying to remain relevant in an ever-changing market. By 2027, global PLM software is expected to be worth $1.82 billion in the apparel market alone.
This software is revolutionizing the retail industry. It is much easier to set realistic sales projections when armed with the most accurate, real-time data available. Trends can be much more closely monitored on a global scale.
PLM software is a retail buyer’s best friend. It makes their job exponentially easier by removing so much of the guesswork when determining appropriate inventory levels. No retailer, whether digital or brick and mortar, wants to run out of a high-demand product too quickly! And conversely, getting stuck with a large amount of something suddenly unpopular is money wasted.
PLM software is but one of the many tools transforming retail for the better, and helping it adapt to the modern, global business environment.
Similar in many ways to virtual reality, this technology is yet another tool in the retail arsenal. Augmented reality enriches the real world with information and other forms of digital media. This can be accomplished in several ways. Here is a list of a few ways this is done:
- Superimposing 3D models or videos over the camera lens, or another viewscreen.
- Real-time augmentation of a tablet or a computer screen to create an enhanced image.
- Use of “glasses” to merge the augmented and real worlds into one visual presentation.
By providing the customer with a better opportunity to understand how a product works, or visualize its presence in their home, office, or other space, you are increasing the percentage of quality sales, and reducing the frequency of returns.
Are you part of the 75 percent?
The business world is changing, evolving, and modernizing. It is growing. Yet, somehow, at the same time, it’s getting bigger, the business world is shrinking. Every day the population increases, infrastructure becomes more efficient, technology advances, and ideas become bolder.
Every day the business world becomes stronger, at least 75 percent of it, anyway. Is your business part of the 75 percent?