Guest Column | June 11, 2018

The Next Evolution Of Retailing

By Paul Dumas, Market America|SHOP.COM

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From bricks and mortar to mail order to internet sales — the history and evolution of retailing is an interesting study. Today, merchants must have a digital presence to stay relevant because consumers have shifted to digital for almost every aspect of their shopping needs; this is especially true with the increasing availability of same day and other immediate delivery offerings.

As technology continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, the next major revolution in retailing is already taking place. The new paradigm at hand has consumers moving away from “shopping” as a separate event and trending towards a more integrated lifestyle-meets-shopping experience. Simply put, today’s consumer wants to discover products and services as they move through life. If the consumer is reading a blog about someone's experience with travel, weight-loss, wellness, exercise, food, clothing or anything else, that consumer expects an immediate and convenient path to directly purchase those products or services.

The Next Evolution Of Retailing Image 1A good example of putting this into practice is RaNae Envy, who lives in Cleveland and has been an independent distributor with Market America for about 9 years. Knowing that growing her e-commerce business means having an effective presence online, Envy has developed a landing page with information pertaining to one target audience and offering specific products available for immediate purchase. Her landing page focuses on expectant mothers and their health. Envy says she got this idea from the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Market America|SHOP.COM, JR Ridinger.

“JR has talked about how in the future, people won’t search for products. The product they are searching for will find them. So, I was looking for a tool that would answer JR’s own words. I reached out to Market America|SHOP.COM developers, explained what I wanted and they developed a great tool that just went live this month,” Envy said.

On a global scale, Market America|SHOP.COM is satisfying consumers’ lifestyle shopping expectations by empowering its independent distributors (called UnFranchise® Owners) worldwide with the ability to promote and sell only the specific categories and products they are most passionate about (instead of offering more than 60 million products). This approach helps to convert distributors into brand ambassadors, thereby increasing potential sales for themselves and for the company.

Furthermore, Market America|SHOP.COM is offering a remote checkout that lets the distributors’ visitors quickly purchase the promoted product(s) without a change in experience that moves them away from the context where they discovered the product(s). Market America|SHOP.COM knows this approach involves sacrificing the customer visiting their destination site, however the win that offsets the sacrifice is products sold through Market America |SHOP.COM are made available to consumers at times when “life” makes those products important to them.

For some, this can seem counter to the wisdom of bringing customers to the merchant's site and controlling the shopping experience. Imagine what it was like for merchants who invested heavily in store layouts and in-person customer service to grapple with mail order and home-delivery, knowing they would now have customers that never enter the merchant’s store?

“Organizations will look and act a lot differently in the near future. They must transform to open and adaptive networks that orchestrate the experience from myriad partners on behalf of their customers. Retailers and brands will become stewards of customers, and deliver personalized and relevant experiences wherever they choose to engage.” — Mark West CEO of LLX Global Business Services (Accenture Report, January 2017)

Shifts like this bring into focus the following tenets, which some would argue are the core purposes of any successful retailer. These tenets are having the right product at the right time and making sure the consumer has easy access to it.

“When customers are forced to move from one online site to another, they can get overwhelmed. With this tool, we are knocking on the door of social shopping. The social media sites are for data mining. They are the gold mine of the data, or potential customers, that you want. My landing page is just the beginning. I can use this same concept for every product category I sell. This tool can and will position us past other e-commerce sites,” said Envy.

About The Author

Paul Dumas is a Senior Director with the software engineering team at Market America|SHOP.COM. He helps with the strategic direction of APIs and services within the company, evangelizes public APIs to the world of developers, works with partners and universities to advance programs and facilitate contests and promotes the innovative technologies of Market America|SHOP.COM through publications and media.