Holy cats, we have now officially passed the halfway mark for 2017! And unlike myself (who has wasted the year on poor dietary decisions and too many video games), I’m sure your 2017 has been filled with productivity, sales and other shop-y goodness. But, as my birthday keeps reminding me, time only moves in one direction, so it’s time to look to the future. And what, you might ask, does the future hold? Well, although it looks like our jetpacks are on hold indefinitely (promises were made, science), we at least have a pretty good idea of what’s coming up next in the world of retail.
Man Meets Machine
One of the biggest trends that doesn’t look to be going away any time soon is the increased usage of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and voice assist. Programs like Pokemon Go helped to normalize VR and AR in a big way, online connectivity has started turning our appliances and electronics into “smart” devices, and products like Amazon’s Echo are on the way to making our entire lives constantly intertwined with our technology. So what does that mean for you? For one, it means that revamping your store just got a whole lot easier. Imagine being able to scan your entire shop and add, subtract or move your store around with a few taps or clicks. No strained backs, second guessing or workman’s comp needed. Increased connectivity also means you can open your store up to brand new markets all over the globe by letting them virtually wander through your aisles or test-drive your wares. There are VR startups that are dedicated to making all aspects of your stores available to any shopper with an internet connection and some time to kill.
Mobility is Key
Shopping on a phone or tablet is big business, with predictions saying that mobile commerce could contribute up to $250 billion to the economy by 2020. Everyone loves shopping while waiting for the bus or hiding from their boss under their desk (not that I would know anything about that…). Formatting your site for mobile shoppers could make or break your online store, as well as your entire business model.
Bespoke: More Than Just a Fancy Word
One of the beautiful things about our brave new economy is the ability to get nearly anything you want, in any way that you want. Consumers know that it’s their market, and they will increasingly demand products that can be customized just for them. Sites like eShakti have wholeheartedly embraced this trend and made it work to their benefit by specializing in allowing their shoppers to easily select and purchase items that are made to their exact specifications.
Customer Experience is More Important than Ever
We’ve talked a lot about online stuff, but what about your brick and mortar stores? With physical storefronts going the way of the velociraptor (which, if I remember biology correctly, means that your shop will turn into some kind of ornery chicken in a few million years), if you want to keep your shoppers actually putting on real clothes and walking with their legs or some similar means of locomotion into your store, you need to provide an experience that they won’t get online. This means that your store has to work with your customers as much as it works for them. Things like stellar customer service, assisted shopping and a two-way channel of communication between yourself and the people who buy your stuff have become vital to the survival of your business.
PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.