Market disruption has triggered massive changes in the retail sector, and one of the biggest developments is a major shift by shoppers toward m-commerce or mobile shopping and ordering.
The shift toward m-commerce was underway years ago when consumers began using mobile apps to order retail products for curbside or in-store pickup and home delivery. Those trends have accelerated at a spectacular pace since COVID-19, and the shift toward m-commerce has become a permanent new reality.
The Growing m-Commerce Trend and Its Effect on Shopper Expectations
According to Zebra’s 14th annual global shopper study, 90% of millennials, 84% of Gen Xers, and 53% of baby boomers use mobile ordering. And 92% of retail decision-makers agree that more shoppers are using mobile ordering, even as the pandemic has waned.
The mobile and digital shopping surge during the pandemic amplified and accelerated the growth of m-commerce as well as customer expectations at an explosive rate. It put a strain on supply chains, inventory and fulfillment processes, mobile apps, and back-end systems. And those challenges continue today.
Shoppers no longer distinguish between retail channels, and whether they’re shopping via mobile, in-store, or through another channel, they expect products to be available, and they want a seamless experience.
Retailers have to deliver a unified experience with little margin for out-of-stocks, errors, delays, or poor customer service, and their mobile ordering fulfillment has to be as strong as any other channel of their business.
Keeping Up with the New World of Mobile and Hybrid Commerce
To underscore this new reality, Zebra’s study revealed some telling numbers. 69% of consumers say they prefer a blend of in-store and online shopping, and the proportion is even higher for Millennials (74%) and Gen Xers (73%). Moreover, 67% of shoppers say they prefer to shop at online retailers that also have a physical location. But 67% of consumers prefer having items delivered, and 60% prefer shopping with retailers that let them pick up orders in-store, curbside, or from another location.
Given these numbers and trends, it’s no wonder that retailers are worried about keeping up and adapting. Retail decision-makers are aware that they need better inventory management tools and hybrid commerce solutions to improve product availability and accuracy, meet shopper expectations via mobile and in-store, and fulfill orders through all channels with outstanding speed and convenience.
However, Zebra’s findings showed that 90% of grocers, 88% of mass merchants, and over 80% of drug store and convenience store retailers are facing significant challenges in maintaining real-time visibility of out-of-stocks, and 84% of decision-makers agree that their companies need better inventory management tools.
Retailers are also running into chronic issues with buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup. Long wait times, out-of-stocks and customer timeliness issues or no-shows are all complicating the ability to fulfill mobile and online orders.
Leveraging Strategy and Technology to Tackle Your Biggest Retail Challenges
It’s a crucial time to act quickly, strategize proactively, and make sure we all have the right systems and technologies to support m-commerce and the other challenges of today’s business environment.
As industry insiders with vast experience in serving many of the nation’s leading retailers, we know what you’re up against, and we understand the challenges you face. Our customers are the first to tell you that we know their business and industry, and we offer the best solutions and support to get the job done.
Our team at Mainstreet is helping the cause is by working with our partners at Zebra Technologies to provide complimentary consulting to leading retailers, to help them understand the latest trends and projections, plot the right path to capitalize on emerging hybrid commerce opportunities, and upgrade their systems and technologies to optimize their inventory, fulfillment, and in-store operations.
We’re also working together with Zebra to provide a complete portfolio of retail technology solutions to help retailers adapt their operations to fast-changing marketplace demands.
Zebra’s multifunction devices empower associates and enable communication and collaboration to streamline processes, boost productivity, and enhance customer experiences.
Zebra’s mobile label and receipt printers help boost associate productivity by allowing them to print labels, tags and receipts on demand, which improves inventory management and elevates customer service.
From the warehouse to loading docks to indoor customer-facing environments, Zebra RFID solutions give retailers maximum visibility into their inventory and supply chain with real-time wireless tracking and locating.
Innovative Bar Code Scanners
Zebra’s scanners speed up checkouts and streamline inventory management with advanced data capture algorithms that allow retail associates and customers to scan more barcodes faster and with better accuracy.
If you’re concerned about your stores’ ability to adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing environment, start by connecting with us to schedule a call and talk about what our team and Zebra can do to help. Contact us through our website or call us at 866-767-6472 right now to get started.