The way we pay for goods and services is changing as the world migrates from cash and credit cards to apps we run on our smartphones. It’s an evolution made possible by ubiquitous mobile platforms and always-on Internet connections, fueled by upstarts like Square and Stripe, and propelled by industry veterans like MasterCard who don’t want to be left behind. The promise is new convenience, lower fees, and in some cases increased privacy and security. But who’s winning the influence battle?
CRMC Newsletter Top Stories – 2014
Wearable technology — including smart watches and glasses — is expected to become a “must have” for consumers over the next several years, and forward-thinking retailers such as Barneys New York and Kenneth Cole are preparing for an explosion in the market. Additionally, retailers such as The Container Store are beginning to implement wearable technology to improve productivity across business processes. And it’s no surprise: Worldwide spending on consumer wearable technology will hit $1.4 billion by the end of 2014 according to Juniper Research.
Despite the rise of e-commerce, offline retail remains a fantastic opportunity for fashion brands, while offering features that digital channels will simply never be able to duplicate. With digital commerce attracting a lot of retention, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how valuable physical retail remains. While tech gurus like Marc Andreessen may predict the impending doom of offline stores, there’s no evidence that, in the highly tactile fashion industry, sales at physical retail stores will not continue to dominate as a proportion of total sales volume.
The growth in the creation of information combined with the hunger to consume and share that information in real time are driving this next wave of innovation in social retail. Due to using social networks, online consumers are not just buyers anymore; they are critics, experts, advocates, and influencers. The following eight social touchpoints contribute to the extended decision-making process, providing various ways for customers to connect with friends, family, and experts for advice and creating multiple opportunities for brands to influence potential customers throughout this journey.
So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. That’s creating a glut of excess space. But that’s just one of several forces changing the face of retail. Inefficiency in legacy brick-and-mortar chains is bleeding some iconic brands. “Does the world really need a Sears at this point? I don’t think it really does, actually, and I think the numbers bear that out. I think the same really goes for J.C. Penney.” “Over the course of the next decade, I am counting on the retail space to look very, very different than it does today.”