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What’s in Store for the Future of Shopping?

By Bernard Watemberg

E-commerce first became possible in 1991. It only accounted for roughly 1% of total retail sales in the U.S. by 2000. That number slowly grew to 3.5% by 2008. Nowadays, there is much more the just Ebay and Amazon for your online shopping needs. Just about every successful retailer does business online and through an app. With more businesses taking advantage of the online marketplace, retail e-commerce now accounts for over 10% of global retail sales. Statista projects online sales will continue growing by 18-23% compared to the previous year through 2021.

There is no longer a one way approach to shopping. It has become an omnichannel experience that retailers are still trying to master. The goal is blend the digital and physical experiences together, each promoting the other. Online applications can still be used to encourage and simplify store visits and finding a favorite store can inspire online shopping sprees. So, what has been enticing people to shop online instead of traveling to a store? The leading answers are the ability to shop 24/7 and compare prices easily, better pricing and sales, and saving the time and hassle of leaving the comfort of your home. Those who prefer to shop in store usually say it is because they want to actually see or try on the product or it is due to the delivery time and shipping costs.

The communication services offered by Cloudonix can help solve some of these issues and promote a seamless transition between the online and in person shopping experiences. By sending out weekly in store sales alerts, like JCPenney does, retailers can generate more foot traffic. Contextual information can take this further by sending out customized discounts to shoppers based off of previous consumption patterns or their geolocation. Effective communication services also improve customer support in and out of the store. A chat or call option can be featured with sales associates at the store closest to you to check the stock of certain products or to seek expertise before you even go to the store, saving valuable time. The same feature will make support available to online shoppers with the touch of a button. These real time communication services can make the life of employees easier as well. By giving customer support the capability to see the context of how shoppers are using the app, they will be able to provide solutions very quickly and be ready for the next call. Furthermore, scheduling conflicts among employees can be resolved efficiently with all employees being able to communicate in channels of the application.

There are no signs that the online marketplace will be declining at any point in the near future. The retailers that can create a harmonious combination of a physical and technological presence are the ones who will benefit from the future of shopping. Cloudonix can assist with creating an interactive technological presence that will spur physical and online shopping.