Amazon is again altering the retail landscape with brick-and-mortar stores that offer quicker checkouts and deeper data collection. The company that upended the brick-and-mortar retail world with an ethereal “shop from anywhere” business model is building Amazon Go stores next to the retailers that survive on “shop from somewhere” consumers.
Amazon Go is part of the company’s push into brick-and-mortar retail that includes the acquisition of Whole Foods Market and the opening of a dozen bookstores in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
Amazon is reinventing offline shopping with customer-centric technology that can identify, map and anticipate consumer preferences within fully-automated, cashier-less stores. Amazon is leveraging data for more efficient offline shopping. And that’s great news for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
The seven Amazon Go stores that are planned for construction this year won’t fall short in capturing shopper data. Traditional retailers know they can’t beat Amazon at the data analytics game. But they can play along in a game that has made location a primary factor.
The industry-wide challenge for retailers is to rely on what they know about in-store behaviors to deliver immersive, experiential shopping. Technology enables retailers to craft experiences around the shoppers that cannot be provided online or in fully-automated stores such as Amazon Go, which completely eliminates face-to-face customer connections.
Ecommerce has kept retailers on their toes, and the list of failing retailers grows longer each year. Toys “R” Us, The Limited and RadioShack are among the old guard shuttering stores amid bankruptcies. But some 92 percent of purchases are still made offline (according to U.S. Census Bureau 2017 stats). Brick-and-mortar retailers who are able to effectively map and measure the customer journey and gain actionable insights to create a unique experience for their consumers will have the upper hand in bridging the gap between online and offline shopping.
A cross-channel challenge
Measuring the mix of in-store, online and mobile behaviors has been a challenge for retailers. Amazon’s merging of an ecommerce website experience and the convenience of a brick-and-mortar store has accelerated retailers’ need to get it right—and leveraging emerging technologies such as location data can help them evolve by giving them the ability to understand shoppers’ offline behaviors, including the time spent in-store, how often a shopper comes back and how that overlaps with online behavior.
Embracing location intelligence also offers a benchmark that shows who is driving the customer’s journey. Combining marketing campaign and sales data with location intelligence can help retailers complete the picture and get a granular view of why a customer visited a store, how they engaged with the brand and what will bring them back.
There’s no doubt the consumer journey will be changed in this era of merging the immediacy of in-store shopping with the personalized efficiency of an online experience. Retailers who analyze and act on what consumers are showing along the path to purchase have the greatest chance of the journey always ending at their front door.