Online retail is becoming more personalised with every click. As technology advances, so does the behaviour that customers present to the retailer. We sat down with Kelly Slessor, the CEO and Founder of Shop You, a revolutionary personalised shopping app, to discuss the power of personalisation and the future of e-commerce.
Starting out as an AI-optimised shopping app, Shop You has transformed into a shopping centre that’s available in your pocket. We spoke to the Founder and CEO, Kelly Slessor, to discuss changes within the industry and how tech is helping retail reach its fullest potential.
Online retail has been experiencing history-making changes in the last six months. What trends do you see coming out of the woodwork in a post-COVID world?
The main trend is consumer-led and focused technology. Safety and convenience are the top two priorities for customers. We will see growth in contactless and cashless technology including;
- Amazon Go ‘just walk out’ technology
- Click & Collect, drive-through and Uber-style delivery
- Virtual experiences
- Smart shopping centres and stores that respond to customers in real-time
Many retailers are choosing to pivot to an e-commerce platform during these difficult times, including SMEs and local retailers. What are some key ways to grow local retail in this vast digital landscape?
- Developing a clear view of customers and targeting them with the right keywords and messaging. This is where local retailers are uniquely positioned to win over large retailers as they have a deeper connection to their customers.
- Treating Google as the shop front, more than half of customers purchase decisions start online. Investing in SEO and optimising Google to be found is critical for growth.
As Aussies realise the potential of e-commerce over the last few months, there has been a flurry of new customers entering the e-commerce landscape. What are some of the best platforms for retailers to use during this accelerated growth in e-commerce?
Around 30 percent of retailers are currently re-platforming. The big ones include Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce and Big Commerce. Shopify has seen huge growth over the past two years with a market cap of $130 billion. This is due to its plug and play capabilities and the ability for retailers to get online within hours for around $30. It provides access to technology that only two years ago would have cost anywhere from ten to a hundred thousand dollars.
While the in-store customer experience has been fine-tuned over the past few years, there is plenty of room for e-commerce retailers to grow. What are some ways retailers can enhance the online customer experience?
We still operate online as a virtual print catalogue and not an experience. The opportunity for e-commerce is yet to be recognised. Video chat, guided selling and immersive experiences that provide unique content to the customer is where I see the biggest gains.
Many older Australian shoppers are using e-commerce platforms for the first time. How can retailers create an inclusive environment for all shoppers, including those who are unfamiliar with e-commerce?
Accessibility is a huge issue in retail, not only for the older shoppers but also for people with disabilities, learning and cognitive difficulties. The challenge is many retailers have not even considered whether their digital platforms are accessible to all. Starting with solutions such as simple navigation, product image tagging and text to speech are just some ways we can address this. In addition, guided selling is again a huge opportunity in making digital platforms more accessible.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges for Australian e-commerce businesses right now, and what could be done to address these? What are the biggest opportunities?
The retail is model is broken and we are not serving the customer. The opportunity is in collaboration between technology companies, shopping centres, retailers, the government and the customers to build out solutions that address the pain points.
What are some the long-term impacts of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon on retail?
If you think about each of their key strengths in response to the customer pain points
- Googles ability to map intent to purchase and connect the offline and online store
- Apples seamless payment technology
- Amazons world-class fulfilment solutions and Facebooks ability to make online a true experience with quality content.
The problem is in connecting these individual platforms to create one seamless experience.
Currently, that job sits with the retailer but requires skills and expertise many retailers do not have. If the platforms can be connected with seamless data sharing across the networks then there are huge growth opportunities for retailers.
Retail is moving at a faster pace than ever before, with the acceleration of digital experiences taking over, both in-store and online. What are some of the impacts that we may see with the likes of artificial intelligence on retail?
Personalisation is one of the key areas, the ability to take vast amounts of data in real-time and provide the customer with what they need at the moment they need it is the biggest opportunity for AI.
Blurring the lines between brick and mortar and online retail is becoming an increasingly popular trend. Do you expect treating the customer as channel-less to become even more important in this half of 2020?
Retailers who continue to provide disjointed experiences and barriers between offline and online are the ones that will not survive. When we analyse recent bankruptcies and store closures this is one of the biggest reasons for failure.
What does the future of online retail look like?
Online will become an immersive experience, personalised to the shopper.
If you imagine the best immersive experiences, like online gaming. A place where you connect with humans, share experiences and choose your own adventure. These online experiences will be connected to the physical store seamlessly and provide a journey that is connected from intent through to fulfilment.
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