How "New Retail" re-shapes the future of Bricks & Mortar worldwide
In the United States, giants like Walmart and Macy’s have been forced to close stores facing a major decrease in sales, with e-commerce often being blamed as the cause. However in 2017, e-commerce sales only accounted for 13% of total retail operations. In contrast, Asian in-store retail is enjoying an unexpected swing based on an innovative business model called “New Retail”.
New Retail: an hybrid business concept
New Retail is a hybrid business concept that integrates online and offline transactions. This term was first used by Alibaba’s founder and president Jack Ma in 2016. Hema Fresh, acquired by Alibaba, is a perfect example of this concept. With the motto “Easy Pay, Easy Select, Easy Enjoy”, consumers have access to both a store and an e-commerce service. With a surface area of up to 10,000 square meters, Hema Fresh offers a wide variety of fresh products such as fruits, vegetables, seafood, drinks and on-site prepared foods. The prices at Hema Fresh are often similar to (or even cheaper) than offerings by other online food retail sites. Store designs are similar to traditional grocer layouts, though the brand only accepts payments via its Alipay application, integrating many digital technologies and eliminating the checkout and cash payments. Alibaba wanted to create an “e-commerce experience store” and thus eliminated unnecessary time-consuming features from the Jurassic era. At Hema Fresh, delivery is guaranteed in 29 minutes – and not in 30 minutes! This allows the brand to guarantee the freshness of its products whether purchased online or in stores. The system allows the consumer to follow the progress of his order placed via the online application. Not surprising that 50% of sales are online!
New Retail: A concept adaptable to the clothing sector?
Hybrid commerce also extends to the apparel sector and its success is offering the same products at the same prices on both channels: online and offline. This is what the Japanese clothing company Uniqlo, well-known for its ultra-light down jackets, demonstrated this with more than 1,800 stores worldwide using this feature.
In order to best meet the expectations of its customers, the services offered by the Japanese brand are there to make the customer experience more pleasant and easier. The brand therefore offers the same prices and promotions online as well as in store and also includes a Click & Collect service in-store. This allows users to shop online and retrieve items in-store. Customers now benefit from a wide flexibility and a vast choice of products and promotions. Uniqlo considerably reduced return rates, which has turned out to be quite advantageous. Uniqlo also makes every effort to please its clientele so they feel privileged, just as it does for luxury store customers. For example; the brand has installed in some stores Charging stations to recharge clients cellular devises in order to continue their shopping journey. More than a place of purchase, the store becomes a place of life and experience. Thus, thanks to digital technologies, stores rehumanize the purchase. CRM makes it possible to personalize offers, the sales-rep equipped with tablets can better help the customer, the Click & Collect makes it possible to harmonize the purchases made online or in store.
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Techni-Connection is a reseller of 3 POS softwares in Canada (Yourcegid Retail, VisualTouch, Retail Management Hero), addressing today’s evolutions and needs. New features are constantly added to the systems (Clienteling, eCommerce, Click & Collect, SaaS, Mobile-POS) to match omni-channel strategies and personalizing the customers shopping experience.
Techni-Connection delivers cost-effective IT solutions to companies of all sizes. With its 24/7/365 helpdesk support system, TCI responds quickly and efficiently to customers problems and provides on-site support. TCI’s strong in-house technical team is also complimented by a network of 150+ certified IT experts across North America.
Sources (in French and in English)
The future of retail is happening right now in China – Alizila
Comment la Chine relance le commerce de détail – The Conversation
Uniqlo ouvre un magasin connecté à Paris – LSA Conso