The Future of Retail and Ecommerce: What You Need to KnowKaren Axelton
Whether you’re an ecommerce retailer, a brick-and-mortar retailer or both, Walker Sands has some useful insights on the future of retail and e-tail that you need to know. According to the new study Reinventing Retail, here’s how people are shopping online and offline:
- Online shopping is the new normal. Over two-thirds (68 percent) of shoppers shop online at least once a month, and more than one-fourth of consumers shop online at least once a week–up 27 percent from a year prior. Basically, shopping online is becoming part of regular shopping routines for many people.
- Consumers are expanding their online comfort zones. Not only are people shopping online more often, they’re expanding their horizons to buy more types of products online, including high-end items they previously wouldn’t buy except in-person. For example, 76 percent of consumers are willing to spend more than $100 on an online purchase without seeing the item first. More than one-fourth (27 percent) would spend more than $1,000 on an online purchase without seeing it first as long as they get free returns.
- Speaking of free...Free shipping is the number-one incentive for buying online, cited by 83 percent of respondents. In fact, shoppers care more about free than fast shipping. The number-two incentive for buying online is free returns. Other factors that matter to online shoppers: Secure payment (51 percent), easy online returns (48 percent) and same-day shipping (42 percent).
- Learn from Amazon. The giant ecommerce site is still the one to beat! An astounding 96 percent of respondents have shopped at Amazon in the past year. Electronics, books, household goods and consumer packaged goods are the key product categories where shoppers turn to Amazon first. However, specialty ecommerce retailers are still preferred for purchases such as luxury products, clothing, sporting goods and office supplies.
- Get ready for mobile payments. More than half of consumers rarely have more than $20 cash at any given time, and cash is rarely used except for transactions with retailers who don’t take credit—like street vendors. Of course, I’m sure you accept credit and debit cards, but you also need to get ready for mobile payments if you haven’t yet. Even though consumers do have some security concerns about mobile payments, 40 percent report using mobile payment apps in 2014—up significantly from 8 percent in 2013. The most popular mobile payment apps: Google Wallet (used by 45 percent), banking apps (41 percent) retailer apps (such as Starbucks; 33 percent). Just 4 percent have used Apple Pay so far, but 18 percent say they’re willing to try it.
Are you ready for the future of retail?
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.