Consumers have begun to leave the retail stores and started to go online. This forces retailers to adapt to the changes in buyer behavior, focusing more resources to online retail channels as well as their current brick and mortar retail channels. This has transformed retail of the past into a multi – channel or omni channel environment. Some staggering statistics say everything about the shift to online retailing. Less than one percent of consumers say that they have never shopped online and sixty two percent of those say that they shop online at least once per month. The reason that this shift has occurred is due to the degradation in the in – store customer experience. Twenty nine percent of consumers cite the in store experience as a reason they prefer shopping online. The degradation of the in – store customer experience is not due to a lack of effort by the retailers, but their inability to adapt to the shift towards omni channel retailing. Consumers now have higher expectations for mobile technology being used in store for coupons, special deals, more in depth product information and even product location assistance. This lack of technological implementation has continued to push consumers toward purchasing online – forty six percent on consumers plan to purchase more online next year rather than in store.
While retailers are seeing more traffic to their online stores, there is still improvement needed in these retail channels as well. Consumer requirements for online shopping are becoming more complex as well and retailers are struggling to adapt to these changes. Shipping rates and speed have played a large role in the decline of online satisfaction rates. Because of retailers like Amazon.com who have the ability to offer free shipping and overnight or two day shipping on most items, consumers expect this type of service from all retailers. Statistics show that consumers are willing to spend more money on online purchases when free shipping and returns are available. Many retailers are taking steps to optimize their networks to once again bring consumers in store and increase online shopping conversion. Focusing on transportation networks and shipping rate shopping, new in store technology and finding a warehouse management system to manage it all are just some of the steps retailers are taking to remain competitive.