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BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: AN URGENT NEED!

BY Shwetha Satyanarayan  |  comments ( 0 )  | 
Over the last one decade, the face of retail has changed from old-age ‘kirana’ stores in bylanes to technology-enabled experiential stores, growing exponentially to be a USD 1.1 trillion market by 2020. In this process, digital is no longer a new frontier for retail, but a business imperative. A recent study sheds light on how to create the right mix of seamless platforms. Meanwhile, it’s not a secret that many retailers have failed to leverage the potential of digital trade, albeit the country taking steps towards ‘Digital India’. As they fail to meet the digital expectations of new age consumers, a gap – the new digital divide – does more harm than good to any business, as per the research conducted by Deloitte.
 
According to the study, this gap is different in nature from the standard notion of ‘digital divide’ that describes socio-economic differences based on access to information technologies. The new digital divide not only poses a serious threat to the overall revenue generated by retailers, but also threatens to restrict the consumers. If addressed, it could go a long way in helping the retailers understand the customers’ shopping habits even when in-store, the study highlights. Sharing insights on creating the right mix of seamless platforms to attract more customers, the study has made some key suggestions for retailers. Accordingly, retailers need to take the below mentioned corrective measures.
 
TAILOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The research suggests that the features and functionality customers encounter at each touch point should correspond with the activity of the moment. For instance, what is he or she looking for or are they buying or just window shopping? The study stresses that retailers should not create a single platform solution that provides the same experience across each device or platform.
 
CONSISTENT BUT OVERALL DIFFERENT
Shoppers look for experiences that are consistent in terms of branding and information across several digital device platforms. For example, mobile apps and websites should focus primarily on product information, discounts and ratings. 
 
BETTER, NOT MORE FUNCTIONS
Customers want better, but not more tools, the research says. To capture greater market share, retailers should build more streamlined functionality – fewer necessary clicks on the websites and mobile app. That way, customers will use the dedicated apps instead of general search engines that might lead them to a competitor’s site. Conv rsion rate increases by 12% when customers use the retailer’s own app or website to shop. 
 
THE SHOPPERS’ PARADOX
When it comes to digitally influenced shopping environment, ‘less is more’. When a shopper scrolls down the screen of a mobile or a laptop, he or she doesn’t want to have to navigate through endless layers of a website but get to the right page quickly to find the preferred choices.
 
DON’T FOCUS ON CONVERSION
If a customer is browsing or comparing products or prices, help him or her do that. If they are ready to buy, help them check out and avoid unnecessary wait time. Treat e-commerce, tablets, and mobile platforms as shopping engines, not just conversion engines.
 
BE SOCIAL MEDIA FRIENDLY
Social media outlets can be valuable tools for both customers and retailers. In a preferred scenario, product information, style expertise and personal recommendations can be integrated strategically into the broader shopping experience. To drive traffic to a brand store, retailers should be confident in promoting relevant products through the social media.

 


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