By George Pepes, APAC Vertical Solutions Lead, Healthcare and Retail, Zebra Technologies
The retail industry in Australia is in a delicate state. With the current economic downturn and several Australian brands going into administration in the past 12 months, now is the time for retailers to capitalise on the digital trends made by their customers to win them over.
The evolution of the e-commerce culture has particularly affected one demographic: the millennial. At the heart of the millennial’s modus operandi is the consumption of technology. This obsession with technology among millennials is influencing how retail sales are made all over the world.
According to Zebra’s Shopper Study 2020, 75 percent of millennial shoppers indicated they shopped in a store and abandoned purchases only to end up buying the item online. This new generation of e-shoppers has incredible spending power that retailers need to understand if they want to succeed.
Service Demand Among Millennials
To target millennials successfully, retailers must pursue the omnichannel route. A seamless omnichannel approach is vital to capture the millennial sale, as it can deliver personalised content and services to customers. The data that this approach generates can also be used to analyse key metrics such as store visit frequency, repeat visitors, basket size, as well as customer retention and cross-channel visits.
The rise of omnichannel is most typified by the growing popularity of click-and-collect. This service enables stores to deliver better customer service by allowing consumers to place their orders online and then collect in-store, which is an ideal picking location. Coupled with location analytics, a notification can even be sent to the enterprise’s picking systems when a click-and-collect consumer comes within a certain radius. This notification then prompts staff to get the order ready, thereby creating seamless retailing.
Another area of growth driven by millennials is free returns. Increasing numbers of e-commerce sales are accompanied with the offer of free returns to encourage customers to buy. E-commerce has created a new retail reality where consumers expect unlimited returns. This has generated a substantial cost for retailers, as 30 percent of online clothing purchases in Australia are returned.
To reduce the amount of returns, one methodology is to encourage customers to try out their goods on the spot, thereby reducing the risk of damage or loss. This also brings forward any returns, thus minimising the time stock is out of the inventory cycle. In fact, the Future of Retail in Australia report predicts that virtual fitting rooms will become common practice, eliminating the number of returns and subsequently, minimising financial impact on the retailer.
Driving Sales through IoT
Identifying the services that millennials desire is an easy enough task, but what technology is needed to deliver these?
Central to the conversation here is the Internet of Things (IoT), which retailers are investing more in.
From beacons that beam shoppers customised coupons to radio frequency identification (RIFD) tags that track inventory — to simplify, enliven and customise the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs. They’re embracing IoT platforms to transform real-time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.
Personalising the Customer Experience
Machine learning is playing a vital role in targeting millennials. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for personalised products. Up to 80 percent of consumers reported that they were more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalised experience. The outcome is increased along with repeat sales as well as great customer satisfaction. This latter point is vital in today’s digital age where millennials can post negative reviews if they feel they are getting short-changed.
The final powerful tech available to retailers is automation. This involves the identification of areas where mundane tasks can be automated, freeing up staff to focus on customer service and sales tasks to improve conversions. This technology is vital for ensuring orders are shipped efficiently, orders are tracked meticulously, in-store inventory levels can be monitored, and customers can find their items. Automation could be described as the unsung hero in the retail mix.
The Future Checkout
Millennials will account for approximately 54 percent of Australians by 2030, and will eventually become the most influential consumers in the market. This means that retailers must give them what they want, when they want it. If not, retailers do not have a sustainable business model. The way to achieve this 21st century challenge is to employ the right technology both in-store and in the back office. Failure to do this could see millennials shopping elsewhere.
For more information, please visit: Zebra’s retail solutions