There’s certainly some evidence that suggests this is the case.
The retail industry has had a head start in its adoption of technology and its transition to a multi-channel service.
When we look at retail about ten years ago. It was a very different place to operate. The cost of getting your retail business online was just starting to drop. The market was different too. Amazon and Alibaba were there, but they weren’t as dominant as they are now. Payment options online were getting traction, but there was still some level of uneasiness about using your card online.
Mass change in consumer behaviour
Alongside these industry changes a huge shift in consumer behaviour was taking place. This shift was away from brick and mortar stores. Customers were changing their habits to online retail purchases.
At the time this shift was explained as a doom and gloom situation for retail owners. This narrative was driven by the media. You couldn’t switch on the TV without seeing a piece about shops closing down thanks to online shopping. Despite this perception, the changes in retail allowed many brands to flourish. The numbers stack up too — the US Census Bureau has reported 100 billion dollars of industry growth in online retail sales from 2010 to 2015.
It isn’t easy to navigate, but it’s filled with opportunity. Customers are shifting their behaviour towards more online orders — as they did with retail. Already online orders are far exceeding phone orders. Alongside this change is lowering technology costs for brands to get online. Do it yourself players have emerged for restaurants to get themselves online. The barriers of entry for the online world are low enough that small to medium businesses are making the shift.
Applying the trends to hospitality
Of course, retail and hospitality have many differences. But by understanding the trends that shaped the growth of the retail e-commerce industry we can get some insight into how the trajectory for the hospitality industry’s adoption of technology will unfold. Looking at the players who have won the e-commerce battle, it was the brands that adapted to their situation, engaged with their customers, and who used their data.
Bottom line. There’s never been a better time to start diversifying the channels people buy from you.
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