Guided Selling and ZMOT
The Retail industry is going thru significant cost pressures and strong competition from Online Stores. Its expensive to operate the traditional brick & mortar shops. The ZMOT (the Zero Moment Of Truth) as its called, happen outside the stores, mainly on social media before the customer decides to buy. So many retail locations are places where customer wants to just feel and touch the products and not really make the buy decision.
On the other hand, the online stores like Amazon, Alibaba, are able to operate at lower costs and offer products at competitive rates. They offer same day shipping and that convenience along with cheaper costs makes the consumer buy on these sites.
Hointer is the great example. It has established next generation retail shops, integrating social media, Mobility, Virtual Assistance, cashier less checkouts in very effective way. So when the customer comes in for feel & touch, he can easily make the buying decision due to this integrated technology approach.
The major grocery stores are facing the same issues and consumers are checking prices on their mobiles when they are in the store. Plus the hassle of going to multiple stores (e.g. organic fruits and Veggies are available in Whole Foods, while regular items are cheaper at local stores) and spending half day is becoming increasing problems.
So in South Korea the retailers launched Virtual Shopping at the public transit stations. So consumers can select and buy the items using their mobile phones and they get delivered to their house or lock-box locations nearby for pick-up. This makes the life easy for consumers and reduces the costs for retailers, thereby competing with online stores.
As Amazon has disrupted the retail industry at its core, the recent launch of AmazonFresh is amazing. The model is really creative and allows the users to order from their favorite stores and get it delivered at their home. Amazon has rented the space within these retail stores and when the user orders online the only responsibility of that store is to move the item from the shelf to this “Amazon” location within the store. Amazon takes care of shipping and delivery from there.