Photo Credit: Laura Marqus
Change is in the air and even though changes have already begun, 2018 still showed profits in every month of the year. The undercurrent of change is now taking form and if retail businesses do not pay close attention, they may find some of these changes very costly to their bottom line.
Consumers no longer trust the government, reports from the media, brands, or companies to do what is right or to be responsible. There was a time when people were very loyal to brands. Often people would buy a brand because their parents did. They had trust in the companies to make quality products and to stand behind what they sold. According to Forbes Magazine, people no longer have that trust.
Photo credit: Charles Deluvio
Consumers fighting back
There was a time when a company appreciated your business. They were polite and when something went wrong, they tried to correct it. This was a small price to pay for your long-term business.
Employees and even their managers no longer feel the need to be polite and helpful as a general rule. Consumers who are spoken to rudely, or blamed for a problem in their transaction are taking to social media to air their dispute. The internet fans the flames. People would rather buy from somewhere else than to condone poor customer service.
This has a direct impact on brick-and-mortar stores and the result is the closing of many stores across the nation.
Companies are investing in online sales
More people are using their computer to buy their products. This means everything from office supplies to groceries. Large companies are offering reward programs, discounts, and online coupons like the ones found here https://www.dealnews.com/s3071/Guitar-Center
Don’t believe this is letting big business off the hook. As easily as consumers walked away from rude CSR’s, they have walked away from companies online that are not being socially responsible. We do not want products tested on animals. We expect manufacturers to go green. Our carbon footprint matters more to us than a few cents off a product. A few other changes include:
- Providing an app to make buying easier
- Matching prices with other major retailers
- Total Honesty
- Consumers want the option of waiting longer for delivery in exchange for free shipping
- Transparency about where products are manufactured
Photo credit: NeONBRANDING
Omnichannels has taken place in some of the shopping meccas, but it is in its infancy. Omnichannels combines the internet buying and the conventional method of shopping. An example of that is large retailers like Macy’s. A consumer can go to the internet to place an order. At that time, their webpage tells you if the product is in stock. You are given the option of buying the product online and having it shipped to the address of your choice. The other option is to pay for the item and driving to the actual store to pick up the order, saving you time and often shipping charges.
Consumers love Omnichannels but they allow little room for error. If a customer places the order, pays with their credit card, and arrives at the store, they do not want to hear anything other than, “here is your order.” They do not want to hear the item is not in stock, they cannot locate it, or they will be happy to process a refund to your credit card in about 10 days. This will pretty much guarantee the loss of that customer.
Contributing to our nation
People are looking deeper into where their money goes when they purchase from a vendor. In days gone by, shop owners were part of their community. Consumers felt good about buying from them. When the community needed help with parks, little league uniforms, or fundraisers, they could count on business owners to step up.
The mom and pop stores have faded to a great degree. But consumers still want the support of the companies they support.
Is online shopping fail proof?
Remember those customers who walked away from big-box retailers because of poor customer service or rude clerks? They reported spread the word through social media. The same is true online. Studies show that 78% of consumers have left their baskets with selections unpurchased because of poor treatment of customers. When the company does not behave honorably, consumers will log off quickly.
2019 will be a turning point in the way we shop. Consumers are being held responsible for their actions and inactions. Consumers are taking back their power. They are no longer going to be silent while we obediently hand over our money. The internet has given us the power to demand more. With the power of the internet, we are all learning something about ourselves and about those companies we do business with. 2019 is going to be an exciting year for those willing to embrace the new generation of consumers.