The Retail Matrix Is Coming Soon, To A Store Near You!
The Internet, which I affectingly call DOS (“Darwin On Speed”, the fastest unionization between push and pull) has changed the balance of retail power forever. DOS has disrupted brick-and-mortar retailers' once advantaged in-store product and price presentations in stark favor of cloud-based insights and pricing benefits.
DOS has also heavily challenged sales, general & administrative costs, eroding profit intentions versus an advantaged low operation cost for click retailers. Cloud-based digital commerce and knowledge satellites are highly inexpensive, energy efficient, always truthful through instant knowledge juxtaposition, always polite and always on. Consumers save on gasoline, time, wear and tear, even car parking aggravation through the saving benefits of e-commerce. Ubiquitous product reviews, along with inexpensive access through mobile, home and business glass pylons are not only changing the balance of profitable push and pull, but they are also instrumental in accelerating purchase demand inside the “Retail Matrix.”
Our newly disturbed balance of retail commerce is our opportunity as well as our fault, not that of consumers. Collectively through cloud technology, infrastructure, connectivity and smart software we have created a formidable and highly valued digital Retail Matrix for consumer America.
The word "matrix" constitutes the place or point from which something originates or takes form in the cloud. Through immense social cloud networking engagements, advertising push, consumer data capture, data analysis and nearly instant algorithmic measurements we may have lost sight of the truth. The truth is that we are capitalizing, utilizing and engaging digital tools to act, treat and perform with consumers the way we did with real human capital just 20 or so years ago.
In essence, our expensive retail store social graces are inexpensively morphing into digitally enhanced social e-graces. Perhaps the saddest realization is that our intended relationship building through digital and social technologies, apps, e-commerce, CRM, e-mail and SEO is working all too well. It is clearly changing the way consumers view and act upon legacy retail selling environments. It seems we are purposely and unwittingly pushing shoppers to prefer the Retail Matrix instead of our heavily capitalized brick and mortar stores.
The facts? According to Forrester Research, U.S. e-commerce sales should exceed $370 billion by 2017. View this number as 10% of overall retail sales. I personally and respectfully disagree with their auger. I aggressively suggest by the year 2017 e-commerce sales across America will exceed 20% on average and 30% plus within certain product categories for instance, consumer electronics. Why? Because consumers, beyond the benefits of instant knowledge, free shipping, no tax and potent exclusive on-line deals live and want for the hyper-enjoyment and merited-kindness, respect and social engagements alive and thriving within their own personalized Retail Matrix.
In part, my reasoning for such aggressive e-commerce Retail Matrix growth is based upon recent COMSCORE market sensing data from first quarter 2013:
1. e-commerce grew aggressively by 13% YOY (year over year) while total discretionary spending grew by a meager 1%.
2. retail and food services only grew 2% according to the U.S. Dept of Commerce (DOC) while e-commerce grew 13%.
3. nearly 11% of all discretionary dollars were spent on line in Q1 2013, the highest ever recorded.
4. average dollars spent per buyer in Q1 2013 YOY increased 8% to $275.
5. transactions (in millions) grew to 703, up 10% YOY.
6. we are rapidly connecting to the Retail Matrix of knowledge and commerce through mobile devices with tablet ownership rising above 60 million people with in addition, 137 million smart phones.
7. while brick retail grew Q1 2013 YOY only 1%, e-commerce grew 13% while m-commerce (mobile) buying grew 31%.
Consumers are proving, through accelerating cloud traffic and revenues that they prefer to learn, shop and buy in the Retail Matrix, the same place they digitally create, publish and socialize personally. Remember, consumers have been trained to be richly and deeply engaged across their Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and a multitude of social sites and apps they both access and publish hour by hour, day by day. In essence we have trained consumers to want and demand products, services and knowledge instantly and perfectly with less energy costs, with more affection from the seller inside their own socially enabled and published Matrix.
Since we know consumers love their Matrix cloud experiences it is wise to accord the Matrix environment into the brick retail experience. Here are just a couple of solutions delivering the Retail Matrix into the physical store:
1. “Point Inside”, the creator of StoreMode, creates a Retail Matrix shopping experience by enabling retailers to engage proactively with customers through their smart phones along the shelf purchase path. Personalized offers, product suggestions, coupons and more stimulants are delivered in real-time based upon each customer’s location, intent, activity and profiles. Retailers gain and profit from fast insights into where, when and what to present, significantly increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their expensive retail SG&A.