Retail has always been about people buying products from other people.
However, how that’s happening is changing.
With more than 8,700 brick-and-mortar stores closing in 2017, retailers aren’t sitting around. There’s little debate how quickly e-commerce has taken over consumers’ preferences.
Instead, they are discussing where e-commerce is headed.
The E-Commerce Experience
Toys ‘R’ Us, once the mecca of kids’ toys, filed for bankruptcy this month, after being overtaken by retail giants, Amazon.com and Walmart. And the toy retailer recently debuted a revamped website geared toward jump-starting an e-commerce experience that would match its competitors.
But no matter how far technology is taking e-commerce, the human element still drives a business’s success. After all, the back-end of any e-commerce operation plays an integral role. With jobs like processing orders, accepting payments, order fulfillment and customer service, you need people to do these jobs. Getting a customer to purchase something from your website is only the beginning of the e-commerce process.
For an e-commerce experience to succeed, retailers need to be able to verify different types of payments. These include voiding fraudulent transactions, routing the order to the right distribution center, and quickly preparing merchandise for delivery. Then comes the last mile — delivering it straight to the customer’s door, or providing a way for the customer to click and collect.
Retailers must be responsive because customers continue demanding convenience and ease of use while shopping online. Additionally, they want instant gratification of purchasing items in the store, and increasingly, a combination of the two. To this end, the click-and-collect experience has become a key component of programs to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue growth.
A Competitive Landscape
Retailers like Amazon have set the bar high for customer expectations thanks to the company’s brilliant operational efficiency and distribution.
But there are competitors.
Walmart, for example, has something Amazon doesn’t — physical stores for customers to pick up items for free via its pickup towers. This 16-foot automated vending machine allows customers, who order items on the retailer’s website, to pick up their items without having to wait in line. All in a matter of seconds.
While technology is key in revolutionizing retail operations, the human element is critical in delivering the best e-commerce experience for customers.