The clock for reinvention is running out for retailers. By now, investors expect retailers have had enough time to adjust their business to succeed in a digital world, making 2017 a decisive year for many retailers, notes Fortune.
Some retailers, however, don’t need to prove their strong position. Retail giant Amazon, for example, leads in the retail space because of the experiences they offer their customers. On every level, from price to selection to convenience, Amazon exceeds customer expectations and delivers a frictionless experience.
With recent innovations like their Dash program, Echo, drone shipping, and now Amazon Go, Amazon creates emotional moments with its customers by eliminating barriers to purchase. Amazon’s Dash program makes it as easy as pushing a button to restock commonly used household items. Echo makes it simple to get answers to questions or complete purchases without lifting a finger. And now Amazon Go promises to take the pain out of grocery shopping by eliminating the checkout line wait and instead letting technology confirm the purchase and process the payment.
To create experiences like this and offer content that aligns with the customer, retailers must have the sophistication to define their audience not only by areas like age, geography, and income, but also by traits like current location, interests and hobbies, parental status, and more. For instance, at REI.com, the home page can be personalized to greet a woman who lives near Lake Tahoe and who enjoys water sports with direct links to canoes, stand up paddle boards, and deals on swimwear.
Once customers experience personalized, frictionless experiences, such as those Amazon and REI offer, there is no going back. The expectation is that all future experiences will match, and retailers that want to prove their mettle in 2017 will need to step up their game and deliver similar experiences.