As Physical Retail Resurges, These eCommerce Leaders Are Doubling Down On Digital

While some shoppers are flocking back to stores, the idea that the pandemic has irreversibly changed shopping behaviors still appears to have merit.

To compete with pure-play eCommerce giants like Amazon, retailers invested heavily in digital capabilities throughout the pandemic. These investments include at-home delivery or in-store pickup models, launching their own marketplaces, and launching their own retail media programs.

Tracking this surge in retailers’ digital capabilities and overall shopper sentiment, analytics firm Edge by Ascential predicted that online sales will account for almost 40% of all chain retail sales by 2026 .

The murky sub-category of “digitally influenced” sales is also starting to become more defined. 39% of shoppers will not buy in-store without reading online reviews first. And 69% of in-store shoppers prefer to look up product reviews on their smartphones instead of speaking to a store associate.

But digital initiatives still struggle to fit into the agenda of retail brands. “Despite all this retail disruption, some organizations and leaders are still behaving like sheep,” says Chris Perry, co-founder of the eCommerce education startup firstmovr, who published a position piece on the issues that eCommerce leaders continue to face in their organizations. Perry says that what’s at stake is not just the end customer – merchants and buyers from physical retail stores are taking cues from the online world. “Target and Walmart are bringing in a lot of digital native brands into physical store,” Perry says. “Why is that? [these brands] may be exclusive to that store, and they also recognize these high growth digital brands as where the growth is coming from. This is why winning the ‘digital shelf’ is important.”

Organizational silos, shortsighted goals, risk aversion, and bureaucracy are cited as the main barriers for retail brands to make real progress with their digital initiatives.

At an online event by firstmovr […]

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