How to Survive the Retail Apocalypse

5 Min READ

If you've stumbled across this blog, you might have found us because you're in a predicament. You might be concerned that retail is dead.

The truth may hurt when reading this so don't go and do some retail therapy over this. Your business just needs a makeover--aka some technology therapy.

Let's just cut to the chase. Your company is boring and becoming outdated to Millennials and Generation Z. Experiential, quick, unique, and immersive online retail is becoming the future of shopping. As more eCommerce businesses are booming and more brick and mortar stores are decreasing in sales across different industries, you need to get creative and chic with your technology solutions if you want your online and retail business to be successful and profitable. To sum it up, you have to keep the younger generations that are up-and-coming adults interested and engaged. Harry Gordon Selfridge, American retail magnate and founder of Selfridges department store once said, “Excite the mind, and the hand will reach for the pocket." Times are changing, and to stay profitable and relevant, your company has to stay up to date on the latest way to shop.

Don't worry, we are here to help you survive the retail apocalypse and come up with some creative tactics to boost your overall sales. Let's look at a few questions that tend to go through a consumer's mind that your company might want to address.

"With some of my jeans, I tend to be in between sizes. How am I supposed to do my shopping when none of these online stores offer me enough product information?"

"Why does your return policy make me go to the post office and stand in those long lines?"

"Are there any more pictures of this product? Or is there a video showing how tall this stroller is? Where do I find the metrics of this?"

These are just a few examples of honest questions and concerns that consumers consider when shopping in your store, website, or app. Customers tend to look for the easiest, fastest, most convenient way to shop. They like to know anything and everything about the product-- from its size, where it was made, how it was made, what other customers think of the product, etc.

With these examples in mind, let's get down to the facts you need to know if you want to make some big changes this year. First, it might be a good investment to upgrade to a new eCommerce solution. Second, you probably need to  incorporate BOPIS, BORIS and ROPIS to integrate the online and in-store shopping experience. You may be asking, why do I need to consider a new eCommerce solution, and what in the world is BOPIS, BORIS and ROPIS? 

eCommerce is essential to a successful retail business nowadays. If you haven't done so already, check out out the 10 reasons why you need a new eCommerce platform. This will provide you with more in depth detail on this topic.  According to our e-guide, these numbers back this drive for eCommerce excellence: In 2019 15% of all US retail sales will occur online and by 2023, 58% of retail spending will be influenced by eCommerce platforms. In other words, eCommerce matters. So why not check up on your eCommerce solution and see if it is serving your business for today's retail climate?

If you're thinking about incorporating BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) into your business, an important step for retailers should first be to create an enhanced in-store mobile experience. This should be an app that can deliver real-time inventory updates from the consumer’s local store to the mobile app. 

Now you might be thinking, "Oh gosh why should I make all these changes to stay relevant? Should I even bother thinking about getting BOPIS?" Check out our blog on what is BOPIS and why should you care, which could be more enlightening on why your business should care about implementing this integrated retail strategy. If you're struggling to keep your brick and mortar business relevant, this is a great solution to consider.  All over the news, it has been mentioned that more than 2,200 stores are closing in 2020 as the retail apocalypse drags on. Here's some food for thought: Do you want to know what solution the businesses referenced in this article didn't implement? Ding Ding Ding, the answer is BOPIS. Some of these stores were once widely popular such as Pier 1 Imports and Forever 21. BOPIS, so far, has proven itself to be a game changer. Just as an example, Target made a HUGE comeback by making the technology switch to BOPIS.

Another great option is ROPIS (reserve online and pickup in-store), which allows retailers to drive more in-store traffic by allowing shoppers to reserve a product in their store, try it on, and then have the option to buy it if they are satisfied. This saves a lot of time for customers since they don't have to go digging through the aisles to find what they want. Allowing customers to see, feel and experience the item before completing the purchase has all the benefits of BOPIS while creating an even more seamless checkout process that reduces the chance of returns. This strategy also has the added benefit of increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction by creating a unique shopping experience.

Bear with me here, but this needs to be addressed as well.

The reason your customers don't want to shop through your app or website is because....

Your return policy is a deal breaker.

When people say "first impressions are the most important", it's no joke. One bad return experience will either have your customers coming back for more or never coming back again. According to USPS, 35% of survey respondents said a hassle-free return policy helps determine which retailers they choose for holiday gift purchases. And just to add a cherry on top, 55% of women 18–34 vs. 40% of men 18–34 said offering an easy return process would improve the shopping experience for Internet users.

A great solution to help improve customer satisfaction and create a frictionless product returning experience is BORIS (buy online, return in-store).

Customers expect to have an easy return process if they choose to buy an item online via their smartphone and then return it in-store, and retailers should provide these choices so customers can experience a frictionless process. Failing to do so can result in a loss of customer loyalty. When it comes to BORIS, a customer should be able to easily access their purchase history within your mobile app and clearly understand the steps for returning a product in your physical store. This process has been known to be used by successful retailers with many physical store locations, such as Zara.

The only way to gain more customers for both your eCommerce site and your brick and mortar store is to think outside of the box and create an immersive, easy to use, yet informational shopping experience that integrates your online and brick and mortar stores. ShopGate Engage is an ideal solution for accomplishing this very thing.

Thinking about what technology solutions could make your eCommerce store better can be overwhelming, but at Fortuitas we can make these changes feel like an exciting adventure.

If you have any other questions, specifically about the technology solutions mentioned above, please feel free to schedule some time with us so we can help you on your next project.


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