Retailers can learn from the success and mistakes made by new emerging companies in the sharing economy.
The direct-line of a consumer to a seller is quickly fading. Retailers must adapt in order to stay abreast with new technological trends.
According to an article from Business.com, as of September 2015, more than 50,000 businesses had enrolled in Uber and the numbers continue to grow. In order for retailers to compete with a growing sharing economy, technology must be used to provide efficient and easy delivery of personalized and competitively priced goods.
1. Competitive Pricing and Efficient Delivery - Stores like Nebraska Furniture Mart have learned the need for competitive pricing. They utilize internet connected chips on each of their products that constantly monitor competitors' prices and change that item's price to stay competitive, sometimes changing several times per day. This process is called dynamic pricing and will only continue to become popular for retailers. Even in the restaurant industry, technology will be used to keep prices competitive. Nebraska Furniture Mart also arranges for the furniture purchased to be delivered to the consumer's residence and assembled by a team of professionals. It is essential to have the right product readily available at the best price.
2. Online Visual Shopping - If the customer cannot see the product, they are far less likely to purchase it. Amazon now has a feature that often provides a video of a product. Amazon currently accounts for 26% of all internet sales. Other companies are using videos to advertise and compete with other convenient modes of purchase. Most vehicle companies provide a 360-degree, rotating view of the vehicle online. This kind of visibility will be a necessary feature for competitive online sales. It must be convenient for the consumer to preview what they want to purchase, empowering them with a personalized experience.
3. Push-of-a-Button Shopping - Push-of-a-button shopping is becoming the new norm. If it takes time and effort to get something, chances are consumers will not bother with it. Netflix has changed the way we pay for and watch television and movies. Rather than driving to a store to pick from a selection of movies, the movies are delivered to the consumer's doorstep or can be viewed streaming at the click of a button on their laptop and more devices. Amazon prime now has a feature where an item can be shipped to a consumer within the same day of purchasing. Retailers must eliminate friction shopping in order to be successful. The most competitive product is the most easily accessible product.
4. Mobile and Efficient Payment Methods - Consumers want overall convenience. There is less need for cash or the physical exchange of a credit card. The use of apps can save the consumer's purchase information and allow transactions to take place at the touch of a button. It is also efficient for a site to have the option of saving the consumer's payment and shipping information so that there is not a need to re-enter the information at each purchase. Mobile wallet apps and other devices with payment capabilities are quickly transitioning the consumers to a new payment mode.
5. Mobile-friendly Shopping - According to Gartner, revenue from mobile commerce will equal 50 percent of all digital commerce in the United States by 2017. People are purchasing less on desktops and are increasingly turning to mobile devices for means of shopping. In order to stay in the competition, retailers need to go mobile. Some retailers are quickly adapting to this era of decreased brick and mortar store point of sales. Bed Bath and Beyond developed an app that accounted for 20% of their sales in 2015. The downfall of stores like Sports Authority and Barnes and Noble can be a lesson to retailers. Online shopping and mobile shopping are the main methods of sales.
The sharing economy seems to be growing in 2016, especially in industries where the costs and inefficiencies are high. Retail industry technology trends provides different methods for staying ahead and keeping in-touch with the latest retail ecosystems. Retailers must look to how they can compete with a growing sharing economy through competitive pricing and efficient delivery of products. Furthermore, retailers need to provide convenient, technological methods of shopping.