It’s not news that the retail landscape is now driven by the digital-savvy who seemingly have limitless shopping and buying opportunities at their fingertips. The way they discover, find and receive products has been evolving at a rapid pace in the last decade. According to a 2019 BRP Consumer Engagement Study, 87% of customers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across all channels and 68% of customers would choose a store that offers personalized promotions/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them. While the answer to this seems simple with the latest in e-commerce tools, one critical consideration is often overlooked -having the inventory visibility to pay off those preferences and get product in the hands of your consumers.
Where out-of-stocks, shipping delays and other disruptions in the purchasing process used to simply cost a brand a transaction, a break in the supply chain today can also cost a brand their reputation and loyalty tomorrow.
Take for example what’s happened during the pandemic of 2020: Google Search data reveals that queries around in-stock items grew by 70%, and searches for store closings grew globally by over 300% in the last week of March. In a world where Amazon has been the end-all, be-all of instant gratification, those brands and retailers set up to leverage an omni-channel in-store experience suddenly had fulfillment centers all over the country.
Online spending is up about 40%
Since the Pandemic hit, e-commerce sales are 40% year-over-year according to analysis of spending trends at 850 retail sites by Listrak. If you’re not sure that’s an accurate percentage, Adobe Analytics, e-commerce sales were up 38% for the March 12-31 2020 period compared to the March 1-11 period 2019. So we feel pretty confident this is a good assumption.
What’s interesting to note, however, is that in the pre-pandemic world of 2019, online pure play retailers actually saw sales drop 10.6% annually, according to a report from IHL. The report goes on to mention that the greatest growth was expected to be from retailers who are not online pure plays who can leverage their retail locations to serve as fulfillment centers.
So what’s a retail brand to do?
It’s never been more clear that monitoring, identifying and reacting these signals with the right infrastructure, logistics and technology will future-proof themselves for the long-run.