When the dot-com era started back in 1995, having an online store was an expensive venture. It was reserved for dreamers, visionaries, and business owners that wanted to be a part of the next big thing. Many people tried cutting corners to gain ground, but only those who understood the true vision of e-commerce flourished. Those who pushed through back in ‘95 created what we now know as e-commerce.
That was all 22 years ago! Today, there are over 100,000 online stores in the U.S. alone. Internet giants like Amazon, ebay, and the like have changed the way that the world buys products. It is easier than ever for retailers of all shapes and sizes to offer their inventory online. It is no longer a question as to whether or not you should have an e-commerce store. The question is, what do you need to be doing now to prepare your online store for the future?
Today’s customers are highly educated about the product they are looking for. They want a seamless interaction with your brand, no matter what platform they are on. If they pull up your website they want to see what inventory you have, in real-time. They want to be able to buy on your website and pick up the item in-store. They also want to be able to return their online purchases in-store. They even want to be able to ask questions and get quick, accurate information on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The piece to this equation is that according to recent statistics 50% of these customers do all of these things from their mobile phones.
Today, 30 million people use the amazon.com application on their cell phones every month. The interesting takeaway from that number is not how big Amazon is, but that there is another major shift happening in the way that customers expect to interact with you and your store. You can either plan for your future or be left in the dust wondering why customers are no longer shopping with you. All of this ties back to your brand and how it can manage these interactions.
Did you know that $0.36 of every dollar spent in stores is influenced by a digital interaction that a customer has with your brand? That’s estimated to be 1.1 Trillion dollars per year of retail spending in the U.S. alone.
So what do you need to get started in this digital era?
- A mobile-optimized online store.
- Regularly updated social media accounts
- Employees managing customer interactions within your social media accounts.
- Real-time inventory control from your Point of Sale system to your online store.
- The capability to manage customers in one central location.
Does this sound like a lot for you to manage? If you said yes, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, even large retailers rely on technology partners. They trust them to provide up-to-date information about trends, new technology, and products that make it all happen.
Retail Control Systems (RCS) is an industry leader that helps small to medium-sized businesses navigate these challenges. RCS can provide everything from basic store management solutions all the way to completely integrated Omni-channel solutions.