Bringing innovation to online retail
Retailers have existed for thousands of years. As long as there have been people buying and trading goods, there have been marketplaces and merchants that facilitate this activity.
So when you have a centuries-old industry, how do you continually innovate and bring something fresh to customers? This is a question that many retailers face. The retail landscape continues to grow more competitive, particularly online, where the barriers to entry are getting smaller and anyone with a little capital can open an eCommerce website.
Marketvine CEO Manish Mehta spoke extensively about innovation in the retail industry at Retail’s BIG Show earlier this year. He noted that it’s incredibly important to get the basics down first and being able to at least compete in a “fulfillment-driven commerce” environment where they are able to deliver goods to customers on time and for competitive prices. New eCommerce technology, such as SalesWarp, can help merchants do this quickly and efficiently and without spending too much time on the details.
Telling a story
However, Mehta urged merchants – particularly those in the online commerce sector – to look beyond just the basics. While excelling at logistics and pricing is critical to success, there are already many in the industry that can do that. To be truly unique and successful, retailers must differentiate themselves, especially during a time when cutting prices or offering deep discounts can land merchants in hot water financially.
One possible strategy, accord to Mehta, is telling a story. Other organizations, such as nonprofits or travel companies, rely on painting an emotion-grabbing story to win customers and earn their loyalty.
Some of the most successful retailers, such as Apple, also do that – the electronics company positions its products as being for a very creative audience, and as a result, Apple wins a dedicated fan base.
“What if you could give employees the power to curate a collection of your products on your site or even other sites, then allow people like your influencers to put those products in their blogs, across social media, through digital and/or physical displays?” Mehta asked, according to the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org blog. “That’s inspiration. That’s what will differentiate you from others in our fulfillment-based world.”
Mehta was quick to note that telling a story is much easier said than done, and his own company is still working hard to do just that. However, he is confident that creating that emotional connect with consumers will trump any deal, and can help make merchants stand out in a sea of competitors.
What is your story?
While it’s obviously critical to nail functions such as product selection, price optimization and delivery, these aspects should only be a starting point. If you really want to be successful, you may be able to differentiate yourself from competitors with a story that supplements the customer experience.
What is your retail chains story, and how do you tell it to your customers?