From your point of sale system to ecommerce fulfillment, the nature of retail is changing rapidly. While you may not think you need to concern yourself with trends in the industry, you could miss out on online wine sales if you aren't prepared for the modern challenges in retail. You need to get ready for the continued shift to multichannel commerce.
Stealing Share, a rebranding company, released the results of its study, "The Retail Space: An in-depth study of where the industry stands now," and found companies need to make significant changes to the ways they approach customers. The company analyzed luxury, discount and specialty markets in its report.
"This is a market that's struggling to find any importance with a model that will soon be extinct," said Tom Dougherty, president and CEO of Stealing Share. "That's one reason why you're seeing so many retailers closing stores. Even if the model was working, the retailers' messages are just noise, all blended together to create a cacophony that consumers are deaf to."
While this may apply to large retailers, wineries can still take lessons from the shortcomings of these major outlets to gain a competitive advantage in a niche market.
Examples to take from large stores
When it comes to necessities, shopping can be extremely time-consuming, and customers prefer to do it on their own time from their computers or mobile devices, according to Forbes. Even though the retail experience is still fun for many shoppers, integration may be the way to accommodate varying preferences. Customers want the option to shop online as easily as they could in a store. A high-quality online experience is especially important to reach customers in markets outside your direct geographic region.
However, it's important not to underestimate the power of ecommerce. Forbes cited comScore statistics that found online sales increased by 10 percent during the 2013 holiday season. While brick-and-mortar sales are relatively flat, many retailers are seeing growth on their websites. Although this channel has a lot of potential for growth, you can't neglect shoppers who prefer the in-store experience. A major mistake that large retailers made was bulking up their online presence without reflecting these developments into their brick-and-mortar offerings.
How to improve the retail experience for customers
Consistency is key in this pursuit, and technology can help bring disparate channels together, Deloitte stated in a report about the major changes in the retail industry. Because wine shipping is an important competitive differentiator if you sell wine online, fulfillment technology can eliminate some of the barriers to customer satisfaction. Utilizing Web platforms can help you engage consumers, make the shopping experience more convenient, offer the best shipping options and become more efficient. People are increasingly expressing a desire for truly omnichannel shopping, which may mean breaking down some of the silos between channels. Customers want to be able to view in-store inventory online. This can also save employees time. In addition, returning shoppers want to be recognized by your website, similar to how they would be by dedicated employees if they visited your winery.
Assessing your ecommerce fulfillment operations can help you identify new opportunities to meet customer needs and exceed expectations. Wine inventory software and an outsourced fulfillment partner can increase visibility. With better insights into customer behavior and needs, your business can create more ways to reach your target market and grow in the face of industry challenges. Retailers that integrate their separate customer touch points will likely see better results over time than those that don't innovate.