Introduction to modern retail: Where does it stand today?
Remember the days when you physically went to a store and browsed through options before making a purchase? Those days are behind us!
The traditional retail experience has become a thing of the past, and brands are constantly evolving to offer an optimal, web-driven digital experience to their customers.
Traditional e-commerce rose in popularity during the 90s, but since then, the experience of e-commerce has steadily evolved with innovations at every turn.
To demonstrate the potential of a blended retail experience, let us consider this statistic. According to a 2020 Q1 study by Salesforce, retailers offering a ‘buy-online, pick-up-in-store’ experience in their physical stores witnessed a 27% growth in digital revenue, as opposed to a low 13% growth for businesses that did not offer this option.
A blend of the two elements of modern retail (online + offline) is crucial for creating a ‘phygital’ experience, which this generation’s shoppers demand.
What does the modern consumer want?
A couple of years ago, close to 85% of shopping worldwide was in-store because consumers preferred making store trips and enjoying the interactive, audiovisual experience. Interestingly, the pandemic turned this trend on its head. Modern shoppers are now looking at online shopping as their preferred mode of purchasing products.
According to a survey conducted by JungleScout, 91% of US millennial respondents claimed that they prefer online shopping over a physical shopping experience. However, if brands want to retain their consumers and attract new ones to their digital stores, they must step up their game.
As Millennials and GenZ make up online retail stores’ most prominent target audiences, brands must cater to their shopping preferences. Insights into their preferred digital experiences reveal an affinity towards Netflix, social media – reels, TikTok, and other such video-powered, live, immersive experiences. According to a study, close to 61% of millennials and Gen Z prefer watching short videos (less than a minute). Google reported that more than 55% of customers use online videos, even while shopping in a physical store.
Today’s modern consumer wants an experience that goes beyond the product. This is why more and more brands are adopting live commerce solutions to offer their customers a more dynamic and immersive experience. Additionally, purpose-driven brands’ video content enhances lead conversion along their customer journey funnel.
Wyzowl reported that 83% of businesses have expressed that video marketing has enhanced their lead generation. Live commerce is also increasingly being deployed to create a community of like-minded shoppers online. For example, Starbucks has recently leaned heavily into mobile-optimized live commerce to attract more customers and create a strong community online.
So, how can brands curate an optimal and attractive online retail experience for their consumers?
A Retail Experience That Suits The Modern Consumer
Social media platforms offer an entertaining browsing experience that creates customer stickiness, so why can’t retail experience provide the same?
They can, but before they curate these experiences, they must answer this question: What does today’s modern consumer want from brands?
Next-gen customers want a digital shopping experience with a personal touch, i.e., humanized, making them feel deeply connected to the brand and its messaging. By leveraging a robust live commerce solution, brands can curate a dynamic digital showcase, which breaks down the barriers between the brand and the customer.
This experience will comprise real-time interaction between the parties, setting the brand apart from the competition and providing access to real-time insights about the customer journey. Therefore, brands can remove the distance between inspiration and purchase for their customers, ensuring a quicker funnel conversion.
Rihanna’s famous beauty brand Fenty Beauty has consistently created shoppable videos that give consumers an exciting, mobile-optimized experience to seek inspiration, buy products, and revel in the shopping experience. Even E-Commerce behemoth Amazon has acknowledged the power of Live Commerce, investing heavily in the new commerce format to create Amazon Live.
The Power of Omnichannel Commerce: How Can it be Leveraged?
Omnichannel commerce is a retail experience that harnesses the potential of multiple retail channels to offer customers a curated and dynamic shopping experience. As part of the omnichannel digital transformation, brands can enable shoppers to participate in a seamless brand experience across both the digital and physical world.
A hyper-personalized ‘phygital’ experience for shoppers minimizes the disconnect and allows them to immerse themselves in the brand experience.
To leverage an omnichannel E-Commerce strategy, brands need to create a live shopping experience for consumers. Ever since its emergence, live commerce has fundamentally transformed the way customers shop online.
For example, let’s look at China. The retail industry is completely transformed in China with the rise of live commerce. Live commerce has positioned itself as the dominant sales channel in the country in less than half a decade.
- According to a 2020 survey by Alixpartners, close to two-thirds of Chinese consumers shopped online via live commerce.
- McKinsey calculated a compound annual growth rate of more than 280% for China’s live-commerce market between 2017 and 2020.
Leveraging a live commerce strategy allows brands to increase the value of retail storefronts and create a loyal customer base. The fusion of the two worlds (online + offline) is improving sales revenue and helping brands attract a more significant footfall to both their physical and digital stores.
Omnichannel commerce experience for brands: The Firework way
At Firework, we have consistently leveraged our intelligent omnichannel solutions to help several brands optimize their digital presence.
Albertsons, the third-largest grocery store chain in the States, used our services to put out a series of interactive, shoppable videos, which allowed consumers to explore the store’s offering in an immersive way compared to the traditional transactional manner. The brand now boasts a 4.5% average Click-Through Rate (CTR), four times higher than the industry average CTR.
Similarly, India’s largest retail chain Big Bazaar reported a whopping 45% of consumers clicked on the ‘Shop Now’ button after viewing the short videos on their site. The videos garnered an average 6.79% CTR for viewing the video in full-screen mode.
Fresh Market, an American specialty grocery chain, witnessed a tremendous rise in their video viewership, from 3k to 14k a day, purely via an organic discovery route. With an average 5.1% CTR on their homepage, Fresh Market’s digital performance and engagement have witnessed an enormous boom.
These cases are just a fraction of Firework’s impact over the years in curating a solid, practical digital retail experience for brands. We are committed to helping brands stay afloat in a hyper-competitive market, where consumers’ needs are evolving by the day.
Live commerce is currently the most critical weapon any e-commerce brand can have in its arsenal. At Firework, we are helping brands wield this weapon intelligently and provide an authentic, interactive, and one-of-a-kind experience to their consumers. If you want to know what we can do for your brand, we encourage you to schedule a live consultation with our solution architects.