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April 9, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Sheri Hebbeln

Revolutionary trends in retail for 2014

The retail industry has changed dramatically in the span of just a few years. If you sell wine online, you need to be prepared for new trends and disruptive forces. How your business adapts to these developments may determine your success in the future. 

Consumer preferences are driving a large number of the shifts, according to Practical Ecommerce. There could be a huge opportunity for boosting online wine sales - studies have indicated that people under the age of 40 prefer to shop on the Web. This trend means shoppers are spending more time researching online before they buy. Even if customers purchase from inside your winery, they may have researched your products beforehand. 

Despite the overarching love of ecommerce, consumer expectations are higher than ever before. One of the major barriers to ecommerce adoption in the past was the fact that the online experience could not instantaneously deliver products to customers. Shoppers could go to physical store locations and buy products immediately. However, many ecommerce companies have created increasingly faster shipping, and the possibility of same-day delivery doesn't appear to be too far down the road. In addition, some retailers are offering in-store pickup so shoppers can get products faster. Not only do consumers want the fastest ecommerce fulfillment possible, but they expect free or discounted shipping. While the expectation of free shipping may seem like a lot to offer, shoppers also want the ability to return items they don't like for free. Speedy deliveries were once a way to exceed customer expectations, but quick shipping will become nearly mandatory in the future.

The demand for speedy wine shipping doesn't account for location. Even if you're catering to customers on the other side of the country, customers expect orders to show up within a few days, the article said. 

Technology is changing the type of service retailers can offer
Although consumers are putting pressure on retailers to offer a top-notch ecommerce experience, there are a number of technological tools you can adopt to stay competitive. For example, wine inventory software can help you manage stocks more efficiently. This is particularly helpful if you operate from multiple wine warehouses because it allows you to ship from the location that is closest to the customer. Radio frequency identification technology is helping retailers manage their inventories more effectively than they could in the past, Multichannel Merchant stated. RFID saves time and money by eliminating the scanning of individual items.

Consumers also want payment flexibility, so you may need to consider the capabilities of your point of sale system. Although it's a fairly new concept, more retailers are accepting digital currency such as Bitcoins for purchases. While it may seem like only accepting credit and debit payments will work for an online wine store, many consumers are utilizing PayPal and Google Wallet, Practical Ecommerce pointed out. 

While the online experience is important in the modern retail world, the focus will soon shift to seamless shopping. For example, if consumers add items to their online shopping carts from a mobile device and return to your website from a desktop computer to complete the purchase later, they want the same products to be saved.

Another system retailers are using to maintain an omnichannel experience is pricing automation, according to the article. Customers don't want to pay different prices for items based on the channel they use to purchase them. These systems can automatically update prices in real time across each channel to deliver a more consistent experience. 

Comments

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Smitha547
@ May 25, 2014 at 6:51 AM
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