Retailers Want to Know How People Shop

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

E-commerce has exploded in the past ten years, as more people go to the Internet to buy and sell goods and services. Technology has driven much of that shift.

In coming years, changes will continue to occur, not online however, but in brick and mortar stores, according to Anita Bhappu, an associate professor of retailing and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona.

"The key thing has been about seamless integration across channels," Bhappu said. For those big retailers who have both physical stores and online marketplaces, " they can meet their consumer in whichever place the consumer is at, and can follow them through their path to purchase."

For a shopper, that might mean trying on an item in a store, looking it up later with a phone app, and then purchasing it online using a computer. The main goal for the retailer, of course, is to keep all of those steps, particularly the purchase, in-house.

But not all brick and mortar stores are set up right now to allow for a seamless transition between virtual and physical shopping. "If we are talking about the more traditional, local retailers who have physical stores but not any type of large online presence, for them, I think, the key thing at this point is how to compete. And, competition in this realm is all about customer experience," Bhappu said. That means these retailers will have to come up with other ways to "add value to the consumer above and beyond what they can get online."

Of course, for those retailers that can do it, creating a seamless shopping experience means collecting data.

To read the rest of this May 20, 2014 Arizona Public Media article and watch the interview click the link below.

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