Blog originally featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive business magazine on July 7, 2015.
Information flows quicker and easier than it ever did before. Long gone are the days when we heard about yesterday’s news in the morning paper. Asking someone for directions seems like a quaint ritual of our parents. Asking a hotel concierge for dining recommendations feels like a chore.
Finding and comparing products online is far more frustrating than it needs to be. Especially if you’re trying to find the online version of a product you found in the store. There is almost no correlation between the offline product world and the online product world. I can say this confidently, because I found out from personal experience recently. Continue reading
E-commerce as a sales channel for the retail industry continues to grow. Currently, e-commerce accounts for about 6% of overall retail sales, and about 11% of the top 30 product categories, according to Forrester. The growth rate of e-commerce sales is currently estimated around 15% annually, much higher than that of traditional in store sales.
But, with that said, many look at that one metric, e-commerce sales and can be mislead because it is relatively small at 6%. So even with good growth, it will remain a very small, niche “channel” in the minds of many retailers.
Did you know that *over $272,000 is spent online every minute and **72% of people are influenced socially through ratings, reviews and recommendations? Shopping behavior has changed significantly due to the multitude of online channels with information that is easily accessible to consumers to help make smart purchase decisions. Traditionally purchase decisions were influenced through advertisements and promotions directly from the brand owner or retailer. This trend is changing significantly and today’s shoppers increasingly leverage information from multiple online channels provided through mobile devices and social networks to enrich their shopping experience.
We’ve talked a lot about how the retail industry is going through a transformation in this blog. The consumer, and their desire to make informed purchase decisions are driving most of this change. As retailers begin to adapt to the connected consumer, many of their systems will begin to change in order to support the experience the consumer is demanding. The one system change that will likely take the lead in this change is the Point of Sale (POS).
Retail stores are doing everything they can to entice consumers to visit their location, and forego shopping online. The theory is that a superb in-store experience, combined with instant fulfillment, will make even the savviest connected consumer spend more time and money in the store. For this to happen however, there is a bar for convenience that has been set by the e-commerce industry that must be matched – checkout.
The Mobile Product Information Gap
Online sales in the U.S. totaled $263 billion dollars in 2013, an increase of almost 17% from 2012 according to the US Census. According to research firm Javelin, mobile commerce accounted for almost $60 billion, representing 188% growth from 2012. While this impressive growth in mobile commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for the retail industry, it also represents a huge challenge.