The way we shop is changing rapidly, driven both by demographics and technology. By 2020, retail spending for the 80 million “Millennials” living in the United States is expected to represent 30 percent of total retail sales (Accenture, 2013)…and these consumers are more connected than ever. The Internet and mobile are the norm – over 50% of U.S. consumers own a smart phone and 57% of all shopping trips begin with technology (Cisco IBSG Retail Research, 2011). E-commerce spending increased 15.5% year over year in the second quarter of this year, and spending using smart phones and tablets increased 24% (comScore, 2013).
What does all this mean for the brick and mortar store? While 57% of the shopping experience begins online, 92% of the time it ends up at a storefront (Cisco IBSG Primary Research 2011). 67% use mobile devices IN THE STORE when shopping. Today’s consumer expects the store experience to tie in with their online and/or mobile experience. Hence the focus on “Omni Channel shopping,” which provides consumers with an across-channel integrated experience. For example, one fashion retailer is deploying digital displays that allow consumers to get more product information, take pictures of themselves in outfits, and instantly share with friends on social media. Providing incentives to connect, “like,” and share the shopping experience benefits both the retailer and consumer.
This is why the store is the key differentiator when competing against online retailers. The problem is, retail IT departments are faced with aging infrastructure that can’t support the “Store of the Future.” How do you make the business case to upgrade everything from networking to point-of-sale systems to security? EarthLink has helped retailers of all types and sizes to cost-effectively upgrade their stores with solutions including MPLS networking, voice over IP, PCI compliance solutions, and secure point-of-sale connections to card processors. California Pizza Kitchen now uses EarthLink’s private MPLS network to run “everything but the pizza ovens,” including 24/7 online ordering, centralized data management, training, online ordering, the point-of-sale system, credit card processing and a VoIP phone system. Read the case study, check out our retail services, and see how our customers are creating the “Store of the Future”.