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Shifts In Ecommerce and Brick-and-Mortar Retail

May 10, 2021

Retail industries have been changing over the past few years in ways no one could have expected. There are many exciting shifts to notice surrounding the industry. Many of these points involve shifts in how customers behave. These include changes for physical and online retail spots and how they will complete their work.

Direct-To-Customer Solutions

Many businesses are focusing on direct-to-customer services. Instead of working with third-party retailers to sell their products, they are directly interacting with customers.

While most direct-to-customer transactions in the past have been through outlet malls, many brands are directly selling their wares online. They are doing this to get away from third-party retail outlets and to establish direct links with their customers. Outlet mall staples like Nike, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Vineyard Vines, and Hanes have been investing more in online sales.

Direct-to-customer sales are especially popular for how a company can control its brand and establish customer loyalty. These businesses can also access more customer data, giving them the power to adjust their sales offers and promotions.

Customers are often more willing to purchase products from certain brands than others. These businesses are working towards promoting their brands to their customers. They will have more control over the work effort.

At-Home Services Are Prominent

People are becoming more interested in at-home services. These include ones where people can access things without having to leave their homes.

A good example comes from how online streaming providers like Netflix are making it easier for people to watch films and programs from home. People can subscribe to services or pay to rent a film if they wish. Customers often appreciate the convenience of these services, especially since they don’t have to spend lots of time having to travel somewhere to enjoy something.

Grocery stores have also been more reliant on delivery services. People can go to a grocery store’s website and then select the products they wish to purchase. These stores can then deliver those foods to the customers’ homes. This at-home service has become very noteworthy, as it shows how people are willing to take in anything in their homes if it is convenient.

Convenience and On-the-Go Transactions

One notable shift surrounding retail industries involves how many businesses are focusing on convenience. These include businesses that want to get people their products or services as soon as possible.

An example of this comes from the McDonald’s restaurant chain. The restaurant chain has been relying more on drive-through sales and less on dine-in transactions. The chain recognizes that people are becoming increasingly interested in such fast transactions. The work has even moved to where McDonald’s is closing many of its locations inside Walmart department stores.

The use of mobile payment wallets and contactless payment systems is another sign of how on-the-go transactions can work. NFC-based payments are faster and easier to support, making it easier for people to purchase what they want and to head out.

In-Store Enhancements

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to keep their sites running. While more people are looking at online stores, traditional retailers are adding new features to help enhance their experiences. These include many things for the customer’s convenience:

  • People can purchase products from a store online and then drive over to the store to pick them up. Customers can do this without having to enter a store. A retailer must use inventory software and communication programs to ensure everything stays online.
  • Stores are accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other contactless transaction platforms. These systems make paying for items easier to manage.
  • Retailers are also opening locations away from traditional malls. They are doing this to make their businesses more accessible and to provide a more personalized experience.
  • Augmented reality systems are also available through some retailers. These include systems where people can look in a mirror and see how certain fashions or cosmetics products might look on someone. The system is more convenient than if people tried on clothing or other products themselves.

These solutions are necessary for ensuring traditional stores can stay intact and catch up with the times. People are becoming more interested in various services, so adapting to their needs will be critical to the business’ success.

How the Pandemic Plays a Part

All these shifts in ecommerce and brick-and-mortar transactions show how the retail industry is changing. Businesses are taking more initiative, but behavioral changes are worth noting. The most significant point comes from how the global pandemic has changed customer behaviors.

People have developed new behavioral patterns over the past year. They are more comfortable with purchasing products online. They may want to acquire things as soon as possible as well.

The ecommerce world expanded in 2020, and there remains uncertainty over how the brick-and-mortar retail industry will survive through the pandemic. But businesses of all sorts are finding innovations and concepts to attract customers. They are focusing on how customers want more control over their experiences. They are also reviewing the unique ways customers want to interact with businesses.

But there also exists a concern surrounding foot traffic in businesses. It might be hard for some physical retail sites to manage their rent costs if they cannot get enough foot traffic. Businesses are researching details on how often people show up in their stores and what additional points might influence when people arrive. They can use these insights to figure out what promotions they should offer. But even then, changes in society surrounding the pandemic might make it harder for some businesses to bring in customers the same way they always have.

Whether it entails at-home convenience or directly getting in touch with a brand, customer behaviors are changing. It is up to businesses to look at how their online and physical retail spaces will react to those changes and shifts. It will be worthwhile for businesses to watch what happens next and how customers will continue to change their behaviors.

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