Friday, 7 December 2012

The Battle for Shoppers

Found a great article from the archives.

Amazon, retailers do combat; shoppers caught in the middle

It’s shaping up to be a battle of Amazonian proportions.

As retailers gear up for the holiday shopping season, analysts expect brick-and-mortar merchants to deploy a variety of tactics to help them compete with online-only companies like The result will be a more complex landscape for retailers and their customers.
Shoppers can expect to see promotions that can be redeemed only online or only in-store, price-matching and location-based mobile discounts. Increasingly, stores blur the line between online and in-store shopping with same-day delivery, ship-from and return-to store options for merchandise.

“Stores include online sales in their comparable-store sales, which hides the probability that store sales are actually declining,” Barbara Wyckoff, managing director at CLSA/Credit Agricole Securities, said via email. "Retailers are aggressively closing underperforming stores to focus on the best [ones],” she said.

Companies still want to get people in the physical stores, because stores are designed to prompt impulse purchases, and associates have the chance to upsell.

“When consumers go into the store they spend more, on average,” said Andrea Woroch, a retail consultant. “They lay out the store in such a fashion to capture consumers’ attention and hopefully get them to spend more than they intended to.”

It used to be that merchants’ biggest challenge was getting people in the door. Now when customers check prices and online reviews while standing in front of the product, even getting them that far doesn’t indicate a likely sale.

“While shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, consumers refer to digital channels, with 19 percent reporting that they browse their mobile device while in-store” a recent report from software firm Hybris said. Two-thirds of these, it said, are using their smartphones to compare prices.

Since shoppers are going to be pulling out their smartphones to price-compare anyway, retailers are getting smart by using those devices to offer them deals they can only get while in the store. Woroch said consumers can expect to see more discounts this holiday season offered if they take actions like checking in using Foursquare or scanning an in-store code. Coupons that can only be redeemed in-store are another way stores are fighting back.

Balancing physical store and online transactions to keep one from cannibalizing the other will be a challenge, although analysts say having both channels available can give retailers an edge if they mesh the two correctly.

Aside from coupons, more retailers will be using tools like digital wishlists and mobile apps to connect with the customer wherever they are, Anne Zybowski, senior digital analyst at Kantar Retail, said via email.
 You can read the rest of the article here!

It's for these reasons that we think the iWishfor app is the perfect tool for people looking to find the perfect gift this holiday season. Not only can you scan and save the things you want but we also allow you to share those favorite items with your social networks providing great opportunities for advertisers and brands to connect and be more relevant to their customers. We believe that this is the wave of the future in mobile shopping. We don't think that shoppers are "caught in the middle". We think they will become the driving force of innovation and change in the retail space.
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