Another month has gone by and with that comes another set of this year’s retail trendservations! This month we’ve got some pretty interesting developments in retail shipping, returns, and technology. Enjoy!
Trendservations in shipping
Probably some of the biggest news of the month is Amazon’s $800 million shipping stunt. The retail titan announced that there will be a larger shift toward free one day delivery for many of its items! I can feel the excitement you probably just got reading that. Amazon already led the charge on free 2-day shipping for its Prime members.
Now, it seems that they’ve upped the ante before their competitors even really had a chance to fully catch up. Large retailers like Target and Walmart have tried to combat Amazon’s pace, building up their BOPIS capabilities in the process. But will it be enough?
Trendservations in returns
In other news, it seems that there’s been even more of a push for free return policies across retailers. Recent studies show that over 80% of shoppers consider returns as a normal part of their shopping process. With returns becoming so normalized, it only makes sense that shoppers are now demanding that all retailers have a free return policy. In fact, over 60% of shoppers have vocalized that they wouldn’t shop somewhere that didn’t have a free return option.
This kind of demand is going to fall heavily on any given company’s operational efficiency, so this is a great place to invest if you’re looking to keep with the times. At the end of the day, shoppers just want the easiest shopping experience they can find. This means having the flexibility to shop online and easily return unwanted items. You’ve got to be able to deliver or risk losing out on all that revenue.
On a related note, one company is doing something interesting to shape up its return management. I’m talking bout Kohl’s, whose partnership with Amazon has made it so that they will accept all Amazon product returns at their store locations. This is a win-win situation for these two retailers. Amazon has less physical space to accept returns, while Kohl’s is able to use this opportunity to generate more foot traffic and sales in their physical stores.
Trendservations in technology
By this point you know I love to talk about AI, AR, and VR developments in retail. This month has held quite a few more! First off, huge retailer Walmart has just revealed its first intelligent store. Similar in concept to Amazon’s cashier-less grocery store, this is a store that is covered with AI-enabled cameras, sensors, interactive displays, and massive data centers. This is all, of course, for the purpose of not only enhancing their customer’s shopping experiences but also revolutionizing them.
Further capabilities of Walmart’s in-store AI will include being able to keep a continual track of the store’s inventory and consumer habits, reduce wait time and increase customer flow, make sure produce is fresh, and ensure orders are always ready for pickup. I feel like Walmart is offering us a sneak peek into the future. Who knows when all stores will reach this level of automation in the context of optimizing the customer shopping experience?
Furthermore, on this technology note, it seems that in general more and more retailers are investing in AR/VR developments. In particular, a group of over 100 different retailers has formed to create the standards around 3D imagery for retail. Some pretty huge companies are working on this – including Facebook, Deloitte, Microsoft, and Google – with the goal of creating a consistent 3D shopping experience for AR/VR. This will allow for the 3D shopping experience to be consumed consistently and effectively among shoppers.
Follow this year’s Trendservation with Luminos Labs
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