Going into the 2020 Holiday Peak, our team has been working hard to ensure a smooth selling season for our valued customers and portal users. While prepping for the upcoming rush, our product team reviewed our data and trends from top performing sales days (i.e. Prime Day) to come up with the following forecasts for 2019: we are expecting 128% growth for orders and 142% in GMV. Using regular linear regression we expect around 63% increase with the growth rate shown below.
The huge spike is reflective of the continued digital commerce growth industry experts predict for 2020 and beyond. Going into the new year and next decade, a focus on omnichannel, customer experience, and responsibility will help to ensure success in the evolving retail climate.
Though omnichannel has been a hot topic for several years, it is mission critical for 2020. If you have not implemented omnichannel strategy or digital transformation, it’s time to add that to you road map. According to Forrester, all retail growth over the next five years is coming through either digitally influence offline sales or online. In fact, traditional offline retail sales will be shrinking slightly. There will be almost ½ trillion online sales growth through omnichannel. The lines between physical and online retail must be blurred, ensuring there are no barriers to shopping. Traditional online-only retailers including Away luggage and Amazon, are now opening up brick-and-mortar locations to better cater to consumers. Savvy traditional retailers, including Walmart and Banana Republic have fully embraced BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) to offer an online experience in stores. Sales associates are armed with tablets and cellphone scanners to help checkout customers on the sales floor, or place an online order in-store for either pickup or delivery.
A National Retail Federation (NRF) study indicating that while 64% of consumers used BOPIS to avoid shipping costs, 37% of shoppers used BOPIS get their goods faster and 36% say they use BOPIS for promotional offers or discounts. The report also cites research from OrderDynamics, Bell and Howell, and IHL Group, which found that retailers using automated pickup saw an in 28% improvement in pickup time. Walmart saw a 60% pickup time improvement, the report noted.
AR technology brings the idea of ‘try before you buy’ into the home (Forbes). But, in addition, AR-based tech can (and should) be implemented in storefronts, too, to keep consumers coming back with experiential benefits.
The continued rise of omnichannel is directly related to the importance of constantly improving the customer experience. In fact, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Keeping that in mind, a store remodel or site redesign (make sure your mobile experience is top-notch) can capitalize on the latest research and trends to better cater to shopper’s buyer behaviors. In addition, stores like Ikea are focusing on ‘concepts’ and allowing visitors to focus on planning consultations and unique design solution. In particular, Ikea’s concept stores are targeted to city centers and aim to help with small-space living.
It’s also critical to engage with customers online, be it through live chat, social media, web forms, apps or email (and calls). Engaging in social listening techniques can help you find and get in contact with customers who may have mentioned your brand, but didn’t tag you. Platforms like Hootsuite are a great tool to help you monitor what the online community is saying about you, and proactively respond when appropriate. According to Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. On the other hand, 13% of unhappy customers will share their poor experience with 15+.
Both consumers and companies are aware of the need to take care of the planet. Taking a step towards limiting (or avoiding plastics), utilizing sustainable packaging, and keeping sustainability top of mind is crucial in 2020. Just this month, Tom’s of Maine pioneered the first recyclable toothpaste tube.
“Empowered customers actively research and buy products with corporate values in mind, from choosing products that are environmentally friendly and locally made to understanding corporate values around what they do and don’t produce and sell,” Forrester. In August, Hasbro announced it would phase out plastic from its packaging starting in 2020. Hasbro’s chairman and CEO Brian Goldner states that removing plastic from packaging is part of the company’s “decade-long journey to create a more sustainable future for our business and our world.”
West Elm is a premier example of a successful company dedicated to products that are sustainably sourced and Fair Trade Certified. West Elm has made it their mission to ensure safe working conditions and fair labor practices, and their principles are paying off, with Q3 comp sales increasing 14.1% year over year.
Creating a more sustainable tomorrow is a goal each company should strive for. As plastic grocery bags are phased out, a new, more environmentally-conscious move is here to stay.
The retail industry continues to evolve and adapt with the introduction of new technologies and ever-changing consumer demands. As we edge out of the “retail apocalypse” into a new decade of retail expansion, keeping omnichannel strategy, customer experience, and responsibility top of mind will help you user in a new year of success.