It’s no surprise that new online stores are opening up faster than brick and mortar, but the fact that they’ve begun to displace in-person shopping is concerning. Retailers’ landscape is changing, and brands must get their social listening and market intelligence intel in order if they hope to avoid the ecommerce crush!
Retailers Must Adapt or Die
According to Statista, “retail store closures climbed to their highest level in years in 2019, as several retail chains closed hundreds of stores, many of them due to bankruptcy.”
And although some find a silver lining, pointing to how there is one new store opening for every two that close, the fact remains: more stores are closing than opening. Retailers are “struggling to adapt to the changing retail landscape,” which has shifted toward ecommerce offerings.
Conversation around these closings shows generalized worries touching every sector, from High Street shops to Kmart. The “retail apocalypse” is certainly upon us:
What can retailers do? Customer experience insight harnessed through social listening is what will help retailers differentiate and create in-store offerings that attract these ecommerce crowds. But they need to be data savvy to pinpoint precisely which needs to fill. This isn’t just about identifying white space, but it’s certainly part of it.
The main way leading brands are becoming “ecommerce ready” is by learning to capture and assimilate social listening to form a more complete picture of today’s consumer. Understanding trends as they start to spin up is important, as those coming late to new trends seem disingenuous and out of touch – and neither is a good look for a retailer attempting to stay relevant. Also, late adopters rarely catch up to competitors.
eCommerce Trends & Identifying White Space
First, let’s talk trends. The emotional context surrounding consumer conversation is super important to understand.
Right now, for example, Millennial investors are interested in Tesla, Shopify, and Pandora Apple Watch, among others. And they’re getting their news from a variety of sources.
Does your store offer Shopify as a checkout option? Should it? Consumers could purchase online and pick up in-store, perhaps? And what is it about Tesla that these young investors find so alluring? And we can also see that they’re very interested in having alternative payment options, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Is your store offering that? Should it? If millennials are your target clientele, then yes, you should.
And what about that white space we spoke of? Next generation consumer and market intelligence helps ecommerce brands identify it pretty immediately, actually. For example, a general search of ecommerce trends reveals lots of avenues to explore, including:
- CBD as a way to supplement sales in most verticals, depending on legality and comfort level in your category
- Whatever Jeff Bezos is currently up to – which is always something to watch closely. Right now he’s busy funding charities, which is a great way for any brand to capture consumer love.
- How the Coronavirus is impacting ecommerce worldwide and ways your store can brace for impact, or potential ways to step in and help, while creating a new niche for your brand.
- A need for global ecommerce software – maybe your firm could develop that?
- A new ecommerce platform to explore, which is an exploration that will likely lead you to discovering others as well.
- Augmented Reality coming into play, potentially sooner than expected. How will this impact your customer journey?
- Grocery sales shifting, with robots predicted as essential to order fulfillment in the future. Is your brand investigating this avenue? Should it be?
Capturing eCommerce Shifts
And all of this can shift tomorrow, which is why it’s so important to have someone on staff monitoring these conversations daily. As powerful consumer and market intelligence tools continue to expand their capabilities and capture all forms of structured an unstructured data, you’ll want to be sure your brand is taking advantage of everything it has to offer. And creating corresponding offerings for consumers so your store can stay competitive.
Be sure that the insight you’re capturing is up to the task though. There are definitely distinctions in the advanced AI space, with many tools making promises about insight that they cannot deliver. There’s next generation AI and there’s Old AI – be sure to ask about that distinction!
Retailers need transparent, actionable consumer and market insight, available in real-time and capable of deep exploration. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how that looks, and the conversations you should be capturing and exploring to keep your brick and mortar stores thriving as too many of your neighbors go under.