Drive through the downtown core and it can feel like there are just as many wireless retailers as there are gas stations or restaurants. The differences between each wireless retailer may not be immediately apparent, as many have similar product lines, stores sizes, staff mix, and target market. As a result, each independent outlet must make a concerted effort to differentiate themselves through the best customer service and technology in order to compete in a crowded market. Here are some of our top predictions for how independent wireless retailers will evolve in 2018:
Mobile will guide more purchases
Mobile devices are already a primary portal for consumers, and in a 2017 survey, 78% of consumers said they shop online before purchasing in-store. Heading into 2018, even the smallest of independent wireless retailers need to optimize their e-commerce site for mobile. Customers need to be able to not only see what products you offer, but also be able to buy the products from their smartphones. Further integrating mobile technology into the store experience also adds value for consumers. Mobile phones and tablets can have a huge impact on sales, whether customers search products and inventory on in-store systems or on their own device. Any independent retailer that is not acing mobile is going to struggle moving forward.
Data will guide decision-making
In the past, data was thought of as an asset but not necessarily an essential one. Heading into 2018, that’s no longer hold true. First and foremost, retailers must make an effort to collect more customer data at a greater variety of touchpoints, and use that data to guide decision-making throughout 2018. Investing in a strong cell phone store POS system is the best way to gain a complete view of your consumers through every transaction and use it to create targeted, customized ads. As customers use more and more touchpoints and share more of their browsing and purchasing data, properly capturing this data will become even more critical to the success of all retailers.
Branding rises to the top
As we have noted, the wireless retail industry is saturated with nearly identical competitors. When customers know they can get basically the same thing no matter where they go, they will seek out the independent retailer that delivers the best branding and customer experience. As wireless carriers typically team up with independent retailers, make it clear that your independent location is connected to Verizon, AT&T, Rogers, or whichever carrier you’re teamed up with.
Independent retailers also often have the added benefit of being immersed in the local community. This is a huge selling point for an independent retailer. Team up with local businesses to offer customers perks for choosing your shop. Also, make sure you’re active in the community by participating in social causes and events. This helps build your brand while simultaneously building up the local community.
AI-driven communications will play a bigger role
With the rise of intelligent personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, it’s no surprise that consumers want all their interactions with tech to be more personalized and helpful. Not only should communication with your brand be personalized, but also offer value. For instance, chatbots help retailers provide a deeper level of service and instant responses online. The good news for omnichannel marketers is that when more consumer touchpoints happen digitally, more data about consumers is generated.
As more and more consumers use a number of channels to complete purchases, retailers must find ways to use omnichannel strategies to their advantage. This is a lot easier with retail solutions that help shoppers use whichever method they want while gathering valuable customer data at every touchpoint. As we continue to change the way we search for and purchase items in 2018, retailers who are equipped with the latest technology will be set up to respond to these trends and stand apart from their competition.
Wireless retailers rely on iQmetrix to provide smart and seamless tech solutions for all their persistent problems. If you’re ready to do things differently and dynamically in 2018, contact us sooner rather than later.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Golubovy, Shutterstock / fizkes, Shutterstock / cdrin