Internet of Things: The Future of Shopping is Not E-Commerce

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Internet of things changed the way we do shopping. There is a surge in usage of fast internet, smartphones, portable devices, smart TV, smart wearable and connected cars among retail consumers. This indicates the rise of connected consumers. Information‐hungry, price‐savvy, and mobile‐empowered shoppers expect a one-screen, one-store consistent experience across retail channels and touch points. This has made the huge impact in the retail landscape and the retail experience is evolving from multi-channel to Omni-channel. The connected consumer requires connected retail. The connected consumer requires connected retail.

Omni-channel retailing or Omni-commerce means establishing a presence on many channels and platforms (i.e. brick-and-mortar, mobile, online, catalog, etc.) and enabling customers to transact, interact, and engage across these channels simultaneously, seamlessly or even interchangeably.


Physical stores remain the foundation of retailing, evidenced by the fact that – in the internet era, 90% of retail sales still take place in physical stores. According to eMarketer, the total retail sales in the US topped $4.53 trillion in 2013, of this brick-and-mortar sales still command a vast majority of the retail market nearly $4.27 trillion. Almost 94% of the market share. According to A.T. Kearney, 95 percent of all retail sales are captured by retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence in total retail. Two-thirds of consumers who purchase online use the store before or after the transaction. The role of the brick & mortar store is changing, NOT going away. Stores remain at the heart of retailers’ relationships with consumers, even in today’s “Omni Channel” world where online and physical sales appear to rule. According to a report, When it comes to product trial and tests, respondents indicate a clear preference for physical stores.

Despite the growing popularity of e-commerce and digital retailing are capturing headlines in news media and inspiring spirited debates retailers plan how best to invest for future success. The e-commerce retail market share is only $263 billion. It is only 5.8% of the market share. Small basket, single channel, ineffective delivery, can’t see, can’t feel or try made it as a hard business model. 

According to Bloomberg report, from the Year 2011 to 2016 quarterly growth of Smartphone goes from 86% to -3%. The M-commerce retail market share is low at $42 billion. This is approx. 1% of the total retail market share. Smartphones are a great place for shoppers to browse items, but conversions to sales are very low. Of-course Smartphones are the next supercomputers on our hands. The capabilities of smartphonesare still waiting to be realized.

Market Statics

  • Consumers become increasingly comfortable with technology
  • 90% of retail sales still take place in physical stores
  • 8 in 10 smartphone shoppers use mobile in-store to help with shopping
  • 73% of all web-informed shoppers would prefer a touchscreen virtual interface in store
  • Consumers often test out items in the shop before buying online
  • Customers expect to be treated as individuals and according to their preferences
  • Enlightened & empowered consumers will not accept “cookie-cutter” treatment 
  • Omnichannel shoppers spend 50% more than single channel shoppers and 35% more than multi-channel shoppers.

 

The fine line between bricks-and-mortar stores and e-commerce is becoming increasingly blurry. But this is because there shouldn’t even be a line. These two worlds should not be treated as separate; they should naturally complement each other. Consumers want a better experience, and retailers that surprise and delight consumers both on and offline will flourish. Consumers expect a seamless experience. We need to stop talking about e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar stores as separate entities in competition with each other. The real challenge we face is understanding how they can complement each other to enhance the customer experience and drive sales.” says Daniel Burrus, the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation.

The connected consumer needs, connected retail with customized shopping. This customization of the shopping experience means the customer can do all of the research online, buy online and have the product delivered to their house. The customer can also carry out all the research and buy the product from the store. The customer can also as increasingly the case go for an in-between option, such as conducting online research, order online before heading to the store to pick up or conducting store research, order on mobile and the product delivered at home.

What does all this mean for us, what works? Brick & Mortar or E-commerce? It’s not physical or digital; it’s physical with the digital retail channel with Omni-channel retail business model for building a successful 21st-century venture. This gives better “customer experience and right channeling.” Omni-channel shoppers spend 50% more than single channel shoppers and this benefits the retailers and suppliers. We are emerging into the most interactive and very very interesting world of shopping.

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