Avensia CEO talks online vs offline in 2017

Trends and developments make for an exciting year ahead in retail, both online and offline. Here, Avensia CEO Robin Gustafsson shares his insights on the retail journey and why omnichannel remains just as – if not more – relevant in 2017.

Consumer expectations and demands for convenience have had a great impact on retail development in recent years. Not least, it has meant a shift of balance in favor of online retail – and the balance keeps tilting further.

Today, about 10% of all commerce is online, with the numbers varying across different industries. The better online gets at seeing to consumer needs, the higher the overall number will be.

 2017 will no doubt be a big step in this direction.

Keeping up with digitalized society

Online retail is already closer to fulfilling the requirements for instant gratification, with an increase in same-day deliveries taking place. In some big cities around the world, retailers can even get a price for same-day delivery that is cheaper than what mail services will take to deliver to a distribution service.

Local warehouses and storage spaces are essential to really make this work, which is why we will most probably see big chains and companies at the forefront of the development. In the same way, it will be even more important to be able to keep track of stock in real-time, so you know what you can promise to deliver and when.

If e-commerce retailers can make this level of service the norm, we will definitely see the balance between online and offline shift even more in favor of the former. 

Another interesting phenomenon is the online market place. It sees to the needs of consumers who want to be where there are plenty of retailers, and vice versa. We will see this growing even more in the coming year, meeting competition mainly in strong branding efforts.

For distributors and wholesalers, it is definitely a threat. They may have to create their own outlets and become resellers to survive.

Connecting offline

However, online won’t be making offline irrelevant any time soon.

A physical presence is and will remain an invaluable way to anchor the brand and help build credibility among consumers. Not to mention that launching a physical store can be a particularly profitable venture for a brand that is already well-established online.

What’s more, dissolving city centers and the lower rents in the area that follow have created great opportunities for online retailers to establish alternate physical spaces where they can connect with consumers. Prime examples being the emergence of pop-ups and showrooms, which we are certain to see more of.

This, in a time when buying search words and AdWords to gain traction to your online store is getting more and more expensive.

A unified front

Nevertheless, there is no question of whether online retail will grow. The question is more about whether it perhaps should increase to make up 20% or 30% of all commerce.

As the customer life cycle is becomes increasingly important, all retailers need to look for ways to connect with the customer beyond the store. This is where personalization is key. It enables businesses to deliver the right content and communication at the right time, be it online or offline.

All these factors will come into play in 2017, ultimately stressing a trend that is still ongoing. Namely, the need for a solid omnichannel solution that makes up the right climate for truly unified commerce across all touch points.

A vision that we at Avensia are excited to support and be a part of.