The next thing you try on at the mall might be a virtual reality headset. No longer relegated to video gamers, VR is coming to amusement parks, movie theaters and classrooms. But the technology presents a major opportunity for retailers as they try to lure fickle shoppers into their stores, particularly as consumers shift more of their buying habits online.
Brick-and-mortar shopping isn't dead, but it is certainly on the decline: just 57 percent of urban consumers said they preferred to make discretionary purchases in stores, while 39 percent claim their last such purchase was made online.
Analyst Insight: The growth of e-commerce, the evolution of consumer expectations, and the globalization of e-commerce have resulted in many changes in the requirements of retail supply chains. These changes demand that retail supply chains handle more volume, quicker, and around the world. Supply chains are at a crossroads to either constrain an organization’s success or to enable the organization’s profitable growth. - Jim Tompkins, CEO, Tompkins International
Analyst Insight: Retailers are seeing new opportunities afforded by omnichannel commerce to leverage brick-and-mortar assets as more than just nodes in the distribution network. They are taking advantage of customers' desires for low or no shipping costs to drive additional in-store spend and seamless returns that make customers happy and ease the burden on distribution. -- Rob Dold, Retail Industry Leader, Fortna Inc.
U.S. retailers are racing to stay relevant in a rapidly changing shopping environment led by growth of e-commerce, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and the demanding expectations of consumers, according to PwC's annual online shopper survey, Total Retail: The Race for Relevance. Based on a survey of more than 23,000 online consumers globally, the report reveals the changing behaviors of consumers, driven by convenience, price, social media and brand trust.
Analyst Insight: For online customers, the buy button is easy; everything behind that is complex. Eighty percent of omnichannel strategy is about inventory strategy. It comes down to making intelligent inventory allocation decisions across the network and building an infrastructure flexible enough to quickly realign inventory to meet customers where they want. The key to omnichannel success is offering the customer multiple options and incentivizing the profitable flows. - Jason Denmon, Apparel Industry Leader, Fortna Inc.
Analyst Insight: The retail apparel market continues to lead the charge when it comes to deploying innovative technologies like RFID that allow for much higher inventory accuracy levels and can pave the way for omnichannel retail strategies. Both Inditex and H&M have made strong commitments to RFID technology, following in the footsteps of Macy's, long considered the leader when it comes to RFID and apparel. According to industry estimates, nearly 4 billion apparel items were tagged with RFID in 2015. - John Johnson, Senior Content Specialist, Gartner Supply Chain
Mobile is driving the shopping experience both in stores and online. Roughly 73 percent of all online buyers are using a mobile device to shop online, and 21 percent are using mobile devices to help them shop in stores, according to Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity.
German clothing chain Adler Modemärkte is among a handful of retailers using an RFID-enabled robot called Tory to count inventory and identify the locations of merchandise on store shelves each day. The robot and the software that manages the data it collects are provided by German technology firm MetraLabs.