Ten retail investments for an uncertain future.
The stakes have never been higher for retailers and competition has never been fiercer in the retail sector. New competitors with new technologies and operating models are disrupting the marketplace. The quest for loyalty and market share is an ongoing challenge, requiring detailed analysis and appropriate investment across the right channels.
The power has shifted from those who make and sell products to the customers who buy them. Offering consumers what they want, when they want it, how they want it, will separate the winners from the losers in the retail sector.
We are delighted to present our first Irish Total Retail survey report, part of PwC’s global retail initiative. The global report, the most comprehensive in its six year history, canvassed the opinion of 24,471 online shoppers in 31 countries, including 1,000 in Ireland. The report identifies areas where retailers can invest to stay ahead and remain relevant in a changing and challenging competitive marketplace.
John Dillon, Partner, PwC Ireland Retail and Consumer Practice, discusses four key investments for Irish retailers arising from the 2017 survey.
Owen McFeely, Senior Manager, PwC Ireland Retail & Consumer Practice, highlights the key insights for Irish retailers arising from the 2017 survey.
Ireland's e-commerce industry is expected to double in value to €14.1 billion in the next four years. While a quarter of respondents said they shop online weekly, nearly half said they would be willing to make purchases on their mobile device. Providing usable mobile-first retail experiences online is crucial for business in the long term.
The survey found that Irish consumers were actively engaging with social media to inspire their purchases. Our research indicates that a consistent, complementary website is essential to the conversion of social media leads. Investing in a website that is optimised for all devices is critical in driving customer engagement.
While online and mobile consumer behaviour is on the rise, the value of the physical shopping experience should not be underestimated. An assistant's knowledge of and familiarity with a store's products, systems and technology can significantly enhance the shopping experience. Consumers looking for bigger ticket items prefer the in-store experience, where they can see and try the product.
The survey underlines that positive interaction with brands leads to more spending, and consumers tend to stick with brands they know. Reinforcing loyalty by investing in uniquely appearing brand features such as customised offers and special access to deals will pay dividends.
Loyal shoppers tend toward their trusted retailer's website when searching for new products. Retailers moving into the online space need to build trust on and in their online platforms.
"Offering consumers what they want, when they want it, how they want it, will separate the winners from the losers.”
There is an opportunity for brands and retailers to target customers with highly focused and personalised offers based on the data they have gathered from that customer's past interactions and purchases.
Retailers must realise the difference between collecting data and gaining insights, and invest in the value of analysis and personalised promotional strategies on the basis of individual patterns and behaviours.
With three quarters of respondents wary of having their personal information hacked when shopping online, building confidence in the security of retail platforms is paramount. The development of highly secure online marketplaces is essential if retailers want to retain customers' trust and business in the future.
Amazon has set new standards in creativity in the retail space. Their efforts to develop disruptive innovations in an attempt to make shopping more convenient and enjoyable have created marked changes in consumer behaviour. Retailers need to develop their own strategies to ensure they stay competitive given Amazon's ubiquity and appeal.