How To Make The World More Shoppable [Future of Retail]

PSFK Labs looks at the Omni Point-of-Purchase technologies that are creating more opportunities to buy.

We’ve all been there before; stuck waiting in a checkout line confronted by the conveniently placed impulse buys designed to give us a quick boost of endorphins, while also adding a few bucks onto the final sale. The entire interaction has been engineered with a quick conversion in mind, collapsing the steps between product discovery and purchase to get more shoppers to buy. And while no one will argue that this is an effective retailing strategy, it only works for certain kinds of purchases and only when someone is already in the context of a store with an intent to buy. What happens to all of those other occasions when someone comes across a product they want, but has no way to actually purchase it?

These lost sales opportunities have only only grown with the addition of more kinds of media. Every time a would-be shopper encounters a product in a print ad, social media feed or TV show, there’s a potential path to purchase that typically goes unfulfilled due to the complexities involved. No matter how much someone might desire that product in the moment, every step involved in locating it is one more obstacle they need to overcome.

However, a number of new digital technologies are helping to replicate the ease of the checkout line and enable it in any product context. This idea of a fully shoppable world is explored in a trend from PSFK LabsFuture of Retail report we call Omni Point-of-Purchase.

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As customers turn to new channels to consume information and find inspiration, we are already seeing the effects on their shopping behaviors. According to the Harvard Business Review, 21% of Pinterest users bought an item in a store after pinning, repinning, or liking the item on the site. While new media platforms are already powerful tool for driving purchases through traditional channels, if combined with seamless purchasing tools, we can only imagine it leading to higher conversion rates. Looking at the potential of this trend to capture people’s attention in a multitasking media landscape, Lou Paskalis, VP of Global Media Content Development and Mobile Marketing at American Express tells Ad Age, “Consumers are impulsive and we realize how impulse sales in part of our business are driven by TV. While people who might try so-called “television commerce” today “are really savvy and sophisticated. In the future, it’s going to tip to an even broader audience, and they’re going to be able to transact on any screen.”

Still, retailers and brands shouldn’t get caught trying to overwhelm their customers with so many opportunities to buy, that they forget about shoppers’ needs. PSFK Labs’ Director, Scott Lachut cautions companies to remember that “Taking a shopper from discovery to checkout is only the first step. Decide how checkout and fulfillment will work to ensure the best end-to-end experience.”

As you consider how to create these buy anywhere opportunities as part of your own retail strategy, we suggest you ask yourself the following:

  • What are the preferred destinations for your target customer base?
  • How do you manage payments and inventory across these expanded channels?
  • How can you develop partnerships with content platforms and media brands?
  • Does the fulfillment process change alongside these new opportunities?
  • What technology solutions would enable customers to easily find products and complete purchase?
  • How do creative media, content and marketing assets change alongside this shoppable dynamic?

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st where talks from retail innovators will bring the key themes to life.

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Photos by The Independent and Business of Fashion

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