Full-Service eCommerce Solutions Are No Longer An All-Or-Nothing Long-Term Commitment

eBusiness leaders are under tremendous pressure to deliver in the face of aggressive business growth plans, competitive threats and digitally-empowered consumer demands. When you add evolving sales and services channels and ever-more global markets on the road map to the mix, even eBusiness leaders with hefty budgets and a do-it-yourself attitude acknowledge they could use a little help. 

Some retailers, CPGs and branded manufacturers are outsourcing all or parts of their eCommerce operations to full-service eCommerce solution providers. However, the days of 10-year contracts and one-size fits all solutions are long gone. Full-service commerce providers have undergone quite a few iterations as the eCommerce market has matured. Today, these solutions are:

  • Becoming more modular. They are unbundling their full stack offerings into modules so firms can pick and choose elements of their eCommerce operations to outsource or keep in house. 
  • Being more transparent with pricing. They have evolved away from obfuscated revenue share models to à la carte, transparent pricing per service, with usage- or per-transaction-based pricing models commonly replacing or acting in tandem with revenue share.
  • Opening technologies up for flexible integrations. As these providers unbundle their offerings, they’re also making their technologies easier to integrate with through flexible APIs.
  • Focusing on omnichannel. These providers are developing their technologies to enable better data transfers, consistent user experiences, and enhanced fulfillment flexibility for their clients to keep up with the pace of change in the marketplace.
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Forrester Predicts The Future Of Retail Store Technology

What lies ahead for the retail store? Yesterday, Forrester published a report that predicts the answers to key questions about the future of the retail store: Which digital technologies currently on the periphery of the store environment will make the leap to the sales floor? How will retailers know which technologies have potential and which will remain gimmicks?

In the report, we outline the utility and predicted chronology of several technologies, including:

  • Proximity technologies. Retailers will know when and where an associate is needed, by whom, and for what purpose.
  • Wearable technologies. Associates will access the relevant data to provide optimum customer service with minimum intrusion.
  • Facial scanning technologies. Retailers will know their in-store customers’ histories, preferences, intentions, and needs and will cater the store experience to them.
  • Smart countertops. Retailers will embrace consumers’ propensity to do product research while shopping in-store and enhance the utility and experience at the same time.
  • 3D printing. Retailers will make the inventory they need on-site or once it’s been purchased.

For more on Forrester’s take on the usefulness of these and other technologies, and to see our predictions of when we’ll see them enter the retail store, see the report (client access required).

Which technologies do you think will realistically make it into retail stores of the future?

I look forward to your thoughts. 

Lily

How Digital Technologies Have Changed The Retail Store

One of my first jobs was as a sales associate at a clothing store, after which mall shopping lost any of the leisurely appeal it once held. I still find myself folding clothes I didn't unfurl and fixing hanger hooks to all face the same direction. Chalk it up to knowing how the sausage is made, or perhaps a logical side effect of working in eCommerce research, but I do most of my shopping online these days.

The store shopping experience hasn’t changed much since my time as a sales associate. But that’s all about to change. We’re at the beginning of a retail transformation: The growing percentage of retail revenues driven by eCommerce and the influence of digital technologies on consumer behavior and expectations alike means that retailers are being forced to reevaluate the value proposition of the store. The result? A digitally enhanced retail store.

Today, a mix of technologies are coming together to marry the online and offline experiences to revolutionize in-store shopping and the role of the physical store. However, we’re still in early stages. Many of these initiatives remain in experimental phases, and glaring success stories are few and far between. Despite the rarity of iron-clad business cases for these initiatives, eBusiness professionals and their colleagues in store operations are forging ahead.

Together with eCommerce technology analyst Adam Silverman, I recently published a report laying out the current state of digital store initiatives and the promising opportunities a digital store overhaul represents for retail. Some of the ways retailers are transforming retail stores include:

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