Both consumer and brands have changed.
It is the verification of an objective fact; Trade, like the world in which we live, is constantly changing. The “liquid society” described by Zygmunt Bauman is being transformed into a “soft drink”. Never better said, the consumer is in the Cloud.
In contrast to other times and generations, not only have products and services changed. The strategies, the way of selling, the channels and even the objectives of the companies have also changed. Vision and Mission, are under review to revolve around the consumer. E-commerce, click&collect system, QR codes, mobile payment, virtual assistants have been introduced….
When just a decade ago Internet shopping was something punctual and strange, today it is a priority channel that many consult even before going to the physical point of sale. In 2020 Inditex will sell and serve all its products, of all its brands at any time and anywhere in the world, even if there are no physical stores. How? Inditex intends to implement the RFID system that identifies the situation of each garment in real time through radio frequency in all articles. The integration of your physical and digital stock will be a fact and will give you a clear logistical advantage over giants like Amazon. Due to the large number of physical stores that will be able to operate as small distribution centers.
Therefore, continuing to approach e-commerce as a competition of traditional commerce is a big mistake; both complement each other. They are not two parallel worlds, they are the same. Today’s consumers are looking for an integration of all channels; offline, online, social networks, Smartphones, apps, etc. Omnicanality and brand homogeneity in both the physical and digital world.
All this creates new challenges and opportunities, which in turn has made some sectors, such as retail, more complex and competitive, offering interactive experiences that capture the attention of the consumer. Focusing on strategies that seek to unify experience and brand image across all channels.
But in recent years omnicanality has become a hackneyed concept. When omnicanality becomes a reality and we have all the channels integrated, we will stop talking about it and talk about unicanality again. The great change is yet to come.
Trade has changed because the consumer and trends have also changed. A more humane and personalised, effective and agile treatment is expected. The consumer is less and less loyal to brands. It is no longer just about attractive websites or state-of-the-art technology in stores. It is not so much a matter of image, but of concept.
Society has become more demanding and critical, forcing commerce to adapt to a consumer who is looking for personalization, speed and effectiveness as well as comfort. Zara stores already incorporate intelligent testers, but at the same time their employees offer a personal treatment in testers that improves the shopping experience in duplicate. The customer claims an experience that can only be generated with the combination of all channels.
We are talking about “Showrooming”. The physical point of sale is no longer just a shop; it has become a showroom and a distribution centre for collecting orders online. Customer lockers are being installed in retail stores, workplaces or subway stations, following the model of Amazon or Fedex.
The interior design of these spaces will have to change; materials designed directly for Retail will have to be applied. The architecture of the spaces will be fundamental, as well as the design of the interior engineering that will have to be more flexible, sustainable and adapted to uses with constant changes.
Today’s stores are the showcase that reflects the essence, values and storytelling of the brand. All this around, not the product, nor the service, nor only the brand itself, but the consumer. Now the product is us, the consumers. We are the brand. It is society that decides.
Although some companies are finding it difficult to carry out the digital transformation. Combining human treatment with digital treatment and new technologies is the first step to prosper as a business. All the data and the exhaustive knowledge of the behavior of the consumer are registered with the digitalization, what allows to know better and to generate campaigns of sale much more focused and effective. Big Data, like technology, are tools that we cannot do without.
Communications Manager at GrupIdea