On April Fool’s Day, Amazon launched the Amazon Dash Button—and it was no joke. Amazon has partnered with 18 CPG brands to quickly deliver household favorites with the press of a button.
Because Amazon Prime customers have personalized accounts, the product simply arrives, like magic, on their doorstep within two days—eliminating the need to run to the store in those ‘we’re almost out of diapers, or toilet paper! We need detergent for laundry day!’ type moments.
And earlier this week, Amazon received approval from U.S. flight safety officials to begin testing its outdoor delivery drone service, which has potential to make big store footprints or direct to consumer shipping economically inefficient for major retail brands. Due to their rapid delivery capability, drones could even make Amazon’s own two-day delivery nearly obsolete.
What do the growing number of on-demand services and delivery options mean for retailers with physical store locations? Customer experience is the key to vitality. Brick-and-mortar retailers need to offer a connected and engaging in-person experience, which e-commerce businesses are simply incapable of matching. Two key differentiators offered by retailers with a physical location include:
- Stores aren’t just about goods or services – it’s about using the five senses. In-store shoppers are not only able to see a product, but to feel, sample, test, try-on etc. These activities turn a shopper into a buyer and also reduce the chances of returns—a growing cost for retailers.
- Personal interaction – for shoppers, there is nothing like experience of walking into a department and having a well-trained sales associate greet them and assist throughout their path-to-purchase. A sales associate can offer different styles and fits and discuss product information that best suites a shopper. Wondering about sizing online? A shopper is forced to ‘chat for help’ or send an email to an info domain. No wonder the abandonment rate for online shopping carts is so high!
It’s clear that even Amazon recognizes the importance of these two differentiators, because even as it explores things like drones, it’s investigating opening brick-and-mortar locations.
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