METAIL is here

Retail over the years has seen a lot of changes and no more than in the last few years. With the digital and most importantly smartphone explosion, retailers are quickly having to take stock of where they’re at and how they can adapt to the dynamic demands of consumers and their need for convergence of digital and physical.

There’s been much concern over such issues as showrooming and the requirement to deliver Omnichannel solutions. Consumers are now accessing multiple sources of information when considering a purchase and are no longer just satisfied with the price on shelf or general store recommendation. Thanks to great online and in-store experiences from Amazon, Walmart and the like, shoppers today are expecting tailored offers that meet their immediate and future needs and they will look to validate any product with other stores and peer-to-peer recommendations whether at home or in store.

This demand is seeing a loud call for individualism and retailers need to be able to place their customers at the centre of their thinking and open up to the ability to have multiple sources of information to capture those wallets. Consumers today want to be able to choose not be channelled and they are looking to be excited with creative and useful innovative experiences to give additional reasons to shop at one place over another. And this experience when delivered correctly will be shouted from the treetops as loyalty today is not just what is spent but what is said.

At this years Westfield World Retail Tour seminar in Auckland, we heard how retailers across the globe are quickly embracing the digital evolution with example after example demonstrating the pace of this change. Through smart use of data and consumer behaviour mapping, we’re starting to see retailers abroad adapt their online and in-store experiences to be centred around the changing customer and as a result they’re winning!

This move requires retailers to not only deliver to today’s mobile metail customer but have the ability to adapt and create with technology for the metail customer of the future.  This is changing the in-store shopping experience and customer shopping behaviour.

We in New Zealand have a great advantage of learning from the shifts in other countries and applying the best solution when required, especially when partnered with existing competitive advantages such as loyalty programmes or an existing strong online offering. This luxury is quickly disappearing with Kiwis adoption of smartphones and other devices and their need for individual solutions strengthening each day – resulting in their expectation to source information ‘now’ wherever it may exist. Retailers who can establish and deliver to the multitude of customer touchpoints and their whereabouts will not only win over the hearts but the minds of their customer. By getting this right they could potentially see the difference of winning or losing in the battle for share-of-wallet of tomorrow’s metail customer.

Author: Colin Rebairo