Retailers must think of ways to keep shoppers in stores. Most are struggling in a down economy. Major retail stores are closing across the country. Others are laying off employees by the thousands. To stay successful in a down economy, retailers must come up with innovative shopping tools. These tools will keep customers in the stores.
Chain stores are still struggling. The retail apocalypse is still going strong. According to the National Retail Federation, the 2017 forecast for retail stores is between a growth rate of 3.2 to 3.8 percent. The NRF’s original forecast was 3.7 to 4.2 percent, according to The Street. The prediction had to decrease due to inflation, down spending in the first quarter, and updated retail sales numbers by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, according to NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
Retail has slowly grown since the economic downturn in 2009, according to NRF. In August, the Bureau of Economic Analyst posted a 3 percent domestic product growth rate for the second quarter, thanks to consumer optimism. Consumer spending increased year-to-year since the unemployment rate decreased. A solid unemployment is a positive factor for the increase in spending.
Here are five innovative shopping tools for retailers to use. E-commerce is the future of the retail industry. More consumers are looking to online shopping, mobile shopping, and other forms of technology.
- San Diego-based e-commerce site Everystore launched the website everystore.com that offers navigational tools for shoppers, according to Apparel News. It gives shoppers access to 1,000 retailers, 22 million products, and 25,000 brands. According to founder Ryan Sit, consumers can look through products from brick-and-mortar stores like ASOS, Forever 21, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.
- According to Michele Dupré, Retail and Hospitality Group vice president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, footwear retailers will have to adjust to the changing times as well. They need to include more digital features to keep up with the ever-changing industry. Dupré stresses the importance of testing out strategies and tools to find the best possible solutions. For example, a loyalty program and an app can give retailers a personal touch, according to Footwear News.
- Mobile shopping is extremely important. More consumers are shopping from their phones and tablets than from computers and laptops. According to a recent report, 57 percent of purchases on eBay have been made from mobile phones through the second quarter of 2016. However, retailers must do more than just display products and allow consumers to make a purchase from their smartphone. Some important features include push notifications to online coupons, mobile payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), personalized customer experience, and collection mobile analytics and consumer data.
- Many retailers are looking to find other innovative shopping tools, such as mobile payment systems. PayPal is a popular choice. Some are offering PayPal and Square as quick, convenient, and secure payment options. Mobile apps should use a wide variety of third-party payment processors such as Amazon, Stripe, and Braintree, reports The Next Web.
- Chat bots are gaining popularity. These personal mobile shopper assistants can offer an asset to any online retail experience. Most personal shopper apps are either operated by a human being or are created from artificial intelligence. For example, the North Face has both chat bots and a personal shopping experience on its website.
Retailers can choose which innovative shopping tools to use. It’s important that they focus on their consumers rather themselves. To thrive in a struggling economy, they can provide exceptional customer service in a physical store, a website, or an app.
[Featured Image by SunCity]