Retailers can learn from Uber – without trying to be Uber

5 Mins

(2) Click and collect breathes life into stores

One of the greatest advantages that bricks-and-mortar stores offer is the ability to leverage their physical store space in order to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. Big box and major chain retailers have a footprint large enough to allow them to utilise these spaces as distribution centres, event spaces and more.

Traditional retailers don’t need to re-create their businesses to more fiercely compete against the new brands, they just need to think outside of the box. The rise of click-and-collect capabilities are offering brands an incredible solution that will make headway against the sales bleed to online retailers – an opportunity that cannot be missed.

By giving customers the convenient option to buy online and pick-up at the location of their choice, retailers are able to do several things:

• Increase footfall in their physical stores by appealing to their cross-channel shoppers, potentially increasing the overall sale when a customer decides to pick up additional items

• Reduce costs, such as shipping and delivery, and streamline the distribution process so that customers have the products in hand at a much faster time

• It also allows bricks-and-mortar stores to act as warehouses for inventory, providing online shoppers access to more products that may be available in other stores

• Provide online shoppers access to more products that may not be available in other stores, by allowing bricks-and-mortar stores to act as warehouses for inventory

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(3) Digital is at the core of everything

Today’s consumer wants to own less and experience more. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are leading the charge when it comes to mobile use for activities like shopping – in fact, research revealed early this year showed that over a third (35.6 per cent) of ecommerce spend in the UK is expected to be carried out on mobile in 2016.

But even more important than the technology, shoppers want good customer service, the ability to quickly find what they need and to buy from brands that are interested in connecting with who they are, rather than just selling them something.

Consumers cross-shop physical shops, online sites and speciality stores, buy clothing at pop-ups, and aren’t afraid to use their mobile device to compare prices, reviews and ultimately make that final purchase.

Traditional brands that are succeeding are those that are thinking about the larger ecosystem in which their consumer engages, and are willing to expand or partner with others in order to reach them on a level they understand.

Mobile tactics such as geo-location targeting and personalised content can help retailers learn more about who is visiting their stores and the content that is really grabbing their attention.

Ultimately, the effective use of smartphone content and mobile engagement will be at the core of the success of bricks-and-mortar retailers this summer.

It is imperative for retailers today to look hard at those like Uber, which is making its mark on the industry, but to remain true to who they are at the core.

Retailers shouldn’t change an entire business based on the success off another; just modify it appropriately to keep up with the changing demands of the consumer. They should be using digital to their advantage, data to build insights and partnerships to maximise outreach.

In summary, it’s easier than ever for customers to hail an empty cab in the big city, because everyone wants an Uber. As a result, it’s now the perfect time for taxis – and everyone else for that matter – to use this opportunity to get back in the game!

Severine Philardeau is VP of retail and brand solutions at RetailMeNot

This UK on-demand private jet service offered Uber users a taste of the high life as part of its US growth plan.

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