Innovation is a key driver of success in the merchandising industry. With constantly changing consumer preferences and trends, merchandisers must continually adapt and innovate in order to stay ahead of the competition and deliver products and experiences that resonate with customers.
The Scope of Traditional Merchandising
Merchandising is a big industry in the United States. Keeping with the growth, there are many merchandising software options on the market.
In 2021, the total value of the U.S. merchandising market was estimated at $804.29 billion, and it is projected to grow at a rate of 4.1% annually through 2024. This growth is being driven by several factors, including changing consumer preferences and the growth of e-commerce.
In order to be successful in the merchandising industry, it is important to innovate and find new ways to connect with customers. This can include using traditional methods like brick-and-mortar stores or online platforms, as well as exploring more creative channels like social media or experiential marketing.
How the Competitive Landscape Has Changed
The emergence of platforms like Shopify and Amazon FBA has allowed a large influx of sellers to enter the marketplace with very little upfront capital needed. This floods the marketplace with alternative sources for consumers, driving prices down dramatically. While this is a benefit to the consumer, it creates a great deal of complexity for the average small business owner trying to keep up.
The rise of eCommerce has contributed to a shift away from brick-and-mortar retail in recent years. E-commerce, which refers to buying and selling products and services online, has grown rapidly in popularity, thanks in part to the widespread adoption of the internet and mobile devices.
One of the key reasons for the rise of eCommerce is the convenience it offers to consumers. With eCommerce, customers can shop anytime, anywhere, without the need to travel to a physical store. They can easily compare prices, read product reviews, and make purchases with just a few clicks or taps.
Another reason for the rise of eCommerce is the wider selection of products and services that are available online. Online retailers often have a much broader range of products than brick-and-mortar stores and can offer customers a wider variety of choices. Additionally, many online retailers offer personalized recommendations and tailored product suggestions, which can help customers to discover new products and services.
This poses a multitude of challenges for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, who still constitute a large share of small businesses in the United States and around the world. The steep learning curve may be insurmountable for many of these businesses as they’re overtaken by faster-moving, digitally native retailers.
Advancing The Customer Experience With New Technology
One of the key ways that merchandisers are innovating is by leveraging technology and data to drive decision-making and improve the customer experience. By collecting and analyzing data on customer preferences, behaviors, and demographics, merchandisers can gain valuable insights that can help them to develop more targeted, effective merchandising strategies.
For example, many merchandisers are using data analytics to inform product development, pricing, and placement decisions. By analyzing customer data, merchandisers can identify gaps in the market and develop products that meet unmet customer needs. They can also use data to set competitive pricing and optimize product placement in stores or online to maximize visibility and sales.
Specifically, they utilize data-driven predictive modeling to anticipate future changes in demand and set prices accordingly.
Virtual Try-On Strategies
In addition to using data to inform decision-making, merchandisers are also using technology to enhance the customer experience. For example, many merchandisers are using virtual and augmented reality to create immersive, interactive shopping experiences.
This means that you can see and interact with products in a more realistic way. You might be able to try on clothes or see what a piece of furniture would look like in your home. This can help customers to get a better sense of what the product looks like and how it would fit into their lives. Additionally, virtual reality can be used to create interactive experiences that allow customers to explore products in more detail.
Some stores offer a virtual try-on experience for clothing and accessories. This means that you can see what the clothes look like on you before you buy them. You might also be able to try on different accessories to see how they look.
For example, one store that offers a virtual try-on experience is Macy’s. With Macy’s App, you can use your phone or tablet to try on different items of clothing. The app has a catalogue of over 180,000 products from more than 1,000 brands, so you’re sure to find something that you like. You can also save your favorite looks for later or share them with friends.
Another store that offers a virtual try-on experience is Amazon. With Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe, you can select up to three items at a time to try on at home. If you decide to keep any of the items, you can then purchase them direct from Amazon. Amazon will also refund the cost of the items if you decide not to keep them.
Alternate Business Models
Another area where merchandisers are innovating is in the development of new business models. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are facing increasing competition from e-commerce, and many are experimenting with new business models that combine the best of both worlds. For example, some retailers are offering in-store pickup or returns for online orders or allowing customers to shop online and then try on items in-store before purchasing.
Social Impact and Sustainability
Finally, merchandisers are also innovating in the area of sustainability and social responsibility. With increasing consumer concern about the environmental and social impact of products, many merchandisers are focusing on developing products that are sustainable, ethical, and transparent. This can include sourcing materials from sustainable sources, reducing waste and packaging, and promoting fair labor practices.
Overall, the merchandising industry is undergoing rapid change and innovation. By leveraging technology and data, exploring merchandising software options, enhancing the customer experience, experimenting with new business models, and focusing on sustainability and social responsibility, merchandisers can stay ahead of the competition and deliver value to customers.