The Evolution of Ecommerce: Three omnichannel capabilities COVID-19 is driving!
The swift onset and widespread effects of COVID-19 have put the retail industry into a state of crisis. Millions have fallen ill. And countless others have lost their lives. The risk of going out has, however, provided retailers with an opportunity to spring forward. More specifically, the forces behind the surge in demand for direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) retailing are accelerating the adoption of omnichannel retailing.
We’ve heard the term “omnichannel” circulating frequently over the past few years. In some ways, it represents the wave of retail’s future. And let’s face it, the recent COVID-19 crisis has just added fuel to this notion. Last year, COVID alone was said to be responsible for high retail turnover and a huge number in lost revenue.
It has been widely reported that the COVID-19 crisis is slowing demand for consumer goods, and impacting retail sales to some extent. Retailers are both revising their forecasts and, in many cases, accelerating tactics to combat the trend.
What does the future hold for retail? Here are the three most significant trends COVID-19 is driving that will define the future of the retail industry.
Inventory optimization is a major component of omnichannel transformation. For eCommerce to develop, inventory will need to be smart. Inventory will demand visibility and transparency — not only in the back end but also in the store. In this new era of retailing, where customers can find products anywhere, retailers know that better inventory accuracy leads to a better customer experience.
The evolution of eCommerce has forced retailers to rethink their businesses and strategies as they move from being solely storefront-based to incorporating a range of omnichannel capabilities. A major enabler of omnichannel use cases is properly managed inventory, especially when integrated with channel-specific replenishment capabilities. Inventory management represents the foundation on which retailers can drive additional operational efficiencies and provide a good customer experience.
As e-commerce continues its climb as a major force in retail, brands find clever ways to leverage brick-and-mortar locations. The trend is called omnichannel fulfilment (OCF), and it’s catching on. A pair of recent reports – from logistics provider XPO and eBay-owned Magento Commerce – have brought the concept of omnichannel fulfilment to the forefront of e-commerce discussions.
ECommerce has revolutionized the retail market in the past decade. It’s the primary channel for most shoppers, and it now drives the majority of revenue for brands. As has been the case since the dawn of eCommerce, however, stores will always play an integral role in the retail equation. This is especially true when it comes to fulfilling orders for customers who order online.
In a few short decades, eCommerce has evolved from simple marketplaces to physical retail storefronts. And now, with the growth of omnichannel and same-day delivery from a variety of retailers, what was once far away is now just as convenient as what’s on your street corner.
The evolution of remote selling has been an ongoing process within the retail industry. The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2027, 46% of the workers in the United States will be independent contractors. This is a jump from a little more than 10% in 2005.
Remote Selling is a strategy that allows retailers to engage their customers without having to see them in person. It’s a process by which retailers engage their customers without having to see them in person. There are several important factors that make up this strategy. Remote selling encompasses the convenience of digital goods, the danger of cyber-crime, and the potential for higher profits that come from services rendered across multiple channels.
There has always been a strange paradox among merchant-facing retailers, where they will say, “We keep our associates local.” Retailers like these will slowly place more and more of the dedicated time-consuming tasks on their store associates–tasks that should be performed online by robots and software. When all is said and done, it leaves the store associate doing two jobs–the right job in the store, and the wrong kind of job at home.
The bottom line:
Transforming the consumer experience doesn’t get any easier than streamlining payment methods. And thanks to this omnichannel capability, remote selling is just that simple. As consumers continue to buy via mobile, online and in-store channels, COVID-19 will revolutionize the ability for merchants to take benefits of opportunities that were impossible before for customer care and cross-channel marketing in eCommerce.
ECommerce is evolving rapidly and taking consumers along for the ride, moving from on-site shopping to purchases that have minimal touch.
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