One of the prevailing fears of the retail industry has been that the growth of e-commerce would come at the expense of physical stores. On the contrary, a hybrid effect is taking place: both online and bricks and mortar retail channels are growing and influencing each other.
Retailers need a hybrid or omnichannel retail strategy that incorporates multiple channels, including in-store, online, mobile, and social media. Today's shoppers want and expect a frictionless retail experience, where all activities — from searching for products to final purchase — are quick, easy, and convenient.
Changing your business is no easy task. Developing and implementing a new approach often starts by shifting your mindset. Retailers should consider taking the following steps:
Efficiency doesn't just mean streamlining — it means redesigning your stores, your systems, and your approach to customer service to drive value for the consumer and the company.
Retailers in Canada need to be bold and innovative. As the market matures and intensifies, and new competition moves in, a “wait-and-see” attitude could be detrimental.
Listen to your customers
Flying blind is almost guaranteed to tank your strategy. Not sure if your customers prefer home delivery or click-and-collect? Reach out and let them tell you what they want.
Open up to change
Even in Canada's relatively stable economy, the market and your customers are in constant flux. Retailers need to be flexible and open to new ways of doing business.
Break down silos
Be honest: do you still have an "e-commerce" department? In addition to integrating front and back office IT systems, retailers need to ensure that various departments and in-store teams act as a cohesive unit as well.
BDO's new report, Retail Trends in Canada 2019-2020, outlines practical ways that retail business owners can build an omnichannel strategy.