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What Does The Future Of Retail Look Like?
When it comes to figuring out where the future of any industry is going, it is important to note that said future has been drastically influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The retail industry was one of the industries that had to make quick changes to cater for both their customers and workforce. But was retail due for an upgrade already, or did the pandemic force this shift?
Let’s take a look at the impact of digitalisation on the retail industry, digital transformation trends in this industry and how you need to keep up for you to reach your target audience.
Accelerated online presence
The retail industry had started the online shopping phenomenon long before the pandemic and was promising a slow and steady transition so that consumers could familiarise themselves with this option. Clothing shops were some of the first ones to practise online shops as some of them are franchises under international brands that offer this service.
While this was not a problem for many online shoppers, many people were sceptical about it due to online fraud scares. When physical contact became one of the main things to avoid, many supermarkets and food retailers made sure their online presence was amplified.
Thanks to e-hailing services offering food deliveries and affording restaurants access to an online presence without worrying about having a brick and mortar establishment, many businesses managed to keep surviving.
Competition is toughening
Digital transformations in the retail industry were also influenced by consumers. Because as a business, you work at providing a product or service, you are influenced by the very same customers. Remember, customers, want to pay less for more, which means they will always search for bargains.
Did you know that 81% of customers like to do online research before purchasing, and 89% begin their buying process from a search engine?
This means you as a business need to use the relevant keywords for relevant products, build a Google-able online presence, ensure your business provides great value for money and have a user-friendly site. To achieve this and more, you will need to go back to your business drawing board.
How to make the move
Making a move to a more digital era shouldn’t mean you are cancelling out your physical store. Unless your physical store cannot survive, you should keep it. This is because with the pandemic and lockdown restrictions coming to an end, there are chances that customers will have new buying and shopping trends that your business will need to adapt to and being at a store might be one of them. However, right now, the hype is digital, so how do we get you there?
First, you have to consider hiring a digital marketer or consultant to give you advice on which is the best online platform for your business. Remember, your target market should always be top of mind, so think about where the people you want to reach are mostly. Are they on Facebook Market, Google websites, or searching videos on YouTube? This will help you decide where to invest your time and money—speaking of money.
Financing your digital era
We understand that it may be overwhelming to think about what to do to get your business online and the money it comes with making a move. Luckily for business owners, there is industry finance from WesBank and the likes, which helps you get your business where you need it to be.
So, consider taking out an industry finance loan so that you can get your business flowing digitally. Your business’s digital transition can be achieved with the following:
- Setting up or signing up on a project management system to keep track of orders and staff progress.
- Payment machines for cardholders if your business offers cash-on-delivery services
- Online promotion and advertising
- Changing your website to accommodate the customer: this can be adding different shots of a product or offering interactive features such as filters where customers can see a product in-situ.
Remember, digital will take you places
Taking your business to an online store will not only reach more people locally but globally too. Especially if you provide a service such as accommodation or products like clothes, so, consider searching where your other target audience is based and invest in reaching them too.
Here’s how you can kickstart your global reach as a South African business:
- Find a trusted local partner: When going global, businesses don’t have the luxury of leaning on their South African networks and support systems. So, find a strategic partner in your new market who has extensive local (in the global sense) knowledge and is willing to integrate you into their network and business ecosystem.
- Identify and familiarise yourself with pain points: you are branching into a somewhat new market. Yes, they may be looking for the same product that your South African customers are, but they may have different pain points like pricing, delivery and such to consider.
- Stay competitively innovative: just like locally, you have competition globally too. Stay ahead of the curb by identifying new and advanced ways to offer your target audience your product.
The future of retail is looking bright and offers more people opportunities to become their bosses by creating delivery services, packaging, supplying and more for the businesses moving to the net. So, think about where you will fit in and give yourself and your business the boost you need.
Tell us your story
If you're unsure about setting up an eCommerce site, then feel free to reach out to us for a consultation and we'd be happy to assist you. We've built several eCommerce sites for both local and international clients and we're able to provide customised offerings to suit your needs and budget.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African retail business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts about eCommerce.
- Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business
- 10 Crucial Magento Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Online
- How To Bootstrap Your eCommerce Businesses
- 10 Emails Every eCommerce Site Should Have
- What Does An SEO Optimised eCommerce Product Detail Page Look Like
- Get More Sales On Your eCommerce Site With Shopping Ads
- 10 Easy Marketing Ideas For eCommerce Sites
- How eCommerce Sites Sabotage Their SEO
- Tips To Create a Profitable eCommerce Landing Page