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Retailers can learn from Uber – without trying to be Uber

3 Mins

This story isn’t just unique to the transportation industry – brands and retailers across the globe are searching high and low for ways to beat the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Etsy and the rest of the peer-to-peer-based sharing economy.

Trying to stay afloat in such a competitive and fierce industry, many bricks-and-mortar retailers are grasping for any new, digital tactics to help boost traffic and sales, while the rest barely move beyond dated strategies due to fear. But what if the answer is closer than they think?

Traditional retailers need to stop chasing the latest trend and instead, do their own thing – and do it well. Digital is now the way of life for consumers, with mobile playing an increasing role in their shopping journey. Brands can find new ways that allow them to stay true themselves while expanding the experience for this new consumer.

Here are three examples of how they can make this happen.

(1) Share economy, but not success

The idea of a “sharing economy” works out well for consumers. They get convenience and savings. But what do traditional retailers and brands get? A whole lot of new challenges.

Let’s start with a real-life example to put this into perspective.

Beyond its success at raising funds, Uber is rolling over the competition in the way of service and on-demand capabilities.

There’s a growing trend among taxi drivers who do not wish to pick up and drop off short-haul customers in the city, citing Uber as the reason. If this is the case, a taxi driver would give up a perfectly good trip in order to sit still and await a passenger that was going to a particular destination – albeit further away, but who knows when?

My suggestion, and this goes beyond just the taxi industry, is to get back in the fast lane and be the driver of your own success. This new wave of sharing economy brands and startups aren’t really sharing anything at all; they are solving a consumer pain point and selling a solution, potentially to the detriment of their own brand.

Retailers should look closer at the brand and what it does, and pair those advantages with the growing amount of data and insights that customers are providing today, whilst finding a way to make what’s old new again – and even more relevant. 

Experience is everything to today’s mobile consumer, and if you are able to offer convenience and value at the same time, then you’re well on your way.

Continue on the next page for the remaining two examples of how to embrace some Uber oomph.

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