In the era of digital technology, the personal touch still makes a difference
The retail industry is in the midst of a digital revolution that’s redefining the shopping experience. Online, mobile and in-store technology solutions are easing and enhancing how we shop — and altering consumers’ buying behavior in unprecedented ways.
Consumers are exposed to infinite shopping choices on the web, hence, the days of standardized marketing and merchandising are over. So as retailers engage with shoppers via a myriad of touch points, from the store to their laptops, tablets and smartphones, consumers are increasingly willing to share personal information with merchants in exchange for targeted product offers and deals — but they want a say in how that data is used to add value to their shopping journey.
Consumers also look to store loyalty programs, particularly at supermarkets and drugstore chains, for customized digital perks, such as mobile coupons and sales. Meanwhile, social networks like Facebook and Pinterest have given new meaning to the concept of the “sharing economy.” The sharing of everything from favorite recipes to vacation photos in cyberspace has extended to the shopping habits of consumers, who increasingly enlist the advice of family and friends when making purchasing decisions.
Today’s consumer seeks out stores updated to reflect the new shopping paradigm, equipped with digital tools like mobile checkout, to flexible delivery options that reflect their omnichannel purchasing patterns, such as buy online, pick up in-store. Despite reports over the past few years that e-commerce will cannibalize business at physical stores, consumer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar retail and personalized service is actually on the rise.