Augmenting the retail store - not replace it
Don't fret, despite all the fear-mongering, brick-and-mortar stores will still make up a majority of retail sales. Retail stores simply will not be as profitable as they were. e-Commerce will take a sizable chunk of the retail businesses' profits.
There is still time for retailers to respond. This is because consumers still prefer to physically feel and see the product before they make purchases. In fact, despite the rise of e-commerce, 67% of survey respondents in Singapore buy products in-store at least once a month. Other than books, music, movies and video games, shopping in-store was the top preferred method of making purchases.
Instead of abandoning the retail assets they have, retailers will do well to adopt a comprehensive omnichannel approach to retail. Retailers should make use of e-commerce platforms or even set up their own e-commerce websites to sell their products globally to expand their potential market size.
Retailers can use technology to transform their existing physical retail assets to offer a better customer experience. Out goes the traditional retail concept of customers visiting the retail store, get generic advice from the sales staff, queue at the counter, make payment and leave. By using mPOS and QR code payments, sales and purchases can be made directly with the sales staff, eliminating the need for cashiers and for customers to endure long queues. Harnessing data analytics will enable salespersons to make data-based recommendations to customers.