When it comes to e-commerce, competing with Amazon is the name of the game, says Ian Hobkirk, managing director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Here, he shares his views on the degree of the difficulty of taking on the e-tailing giant and on the future of online commerce in general.
Pinterest boards, QR code walls, showrooming, mobile couponing, pop-up shops, mobile apps, Tweet Mirror, Facebook walls, digital circulars, augmented reality, flash sales"”it's a digital jungle out there for retailers today. As consumers embrace new technologies and services, companies find it difficult to stay current"”and harder still to determine where and how to invest their budgets. It's all too tempting simply to jump on the next new thing (and the next and the next), just in hopes of keeping pace.
The back-to-school shopping season has already gotten underway with 29 percent of households reporting that they have begun to shop, according to a special ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey. While the percentage of consumers shopping for back-to-school items at this time of the season is lower than in 2012 (33 percent), it is still higher than in all other years since 2004. Although the season has officially begun, two-thirds of households reported that August is when they will do most of their back-to-school shopping.
Regardless of having registered a phone line with the Federal Trade Commission as a telemarketer-free zone, a growing number of consumers are saying that some businesses are ignoring their stated preference and calling anyway.
It doesn't feel so long ago that brick-and-mortar retailers were rushing to develop online stores. Now that evolution often happens in reverse: Retailers start online and migrate to the real world, where customers can touch, taste, and try on their goodies.