One of the biggest challenges facing online retailers is both the issue of delivery and returns. Because it is difficult to ensure the clothing size being ordered is going to fit, customers have started to order multiple sizes and then with the offer of free returns simply return what they don’t want. This is ramping up the cost of delivery and eating into profits. The answer of course comes in two innovations that have been around for a while but are rapidly gaining pace.
1) Augmented reality. This allows customers to try products on virtually, reducing the need to return products. Another example is home store company Wayfair, which uses augmented reality to help shoppers determine the appearance of furniture in a shopper’s home. The AR function is built into the company’s app, allowing the shopper to take a photo of a room, and then virtually add the Wayfair products. This allows the shopper to determine how well (or not) the product will blend with the room’s decor and dimensions.
2) Concierge services. This service has become increasingly popular as more and more time poor shoppers turn to personal concierges to solve their styling needs. Even Amazon is offering this level of service and more retailers will add this to their store offering. Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is an Amazon subsidiary that allows users to request a styling expert to put together outfits based on their taste and choices. Concierge services can help in providing flexible and reliable solutions to help retailers improve customer retention and customer experience.
Exciting times are ahead for retailers who take the punt to invest in new innovations to stand out from the crowd.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.