In the modern business sector, smart supply chain, smart consumption, and smart consumption dictate the mode of doing business. Any business that is not ready to conform to these demands is likely to become obsolete in the short-term. In a world where brick and mortar retailers still rule the world, there is a need for such retailers to improve their ability to do business efficiently. One of the ways through which brick and mortar retailers can succeed in the modern business environmental issues by optimizing the customer experience. This is an initiative that can create enormous opportunities for any businesses.
There is a misconception, and that brick and mortar businesses are coming to an end. The rise of the e-commerce sector is seen as a threat that will completely wipe out traditional retailers. However, this is not the case. Currently, only 15 percent and 8.5 percent of retail business in China and the United States respectively are controlled by e-commerce ventures. What this means is that the future is still very bright for retailers who would like to run offline stores. However, for offline stores to be effective, there are some components of technology that needs to be utilized.
JD.com is the largest retailer in China. For close to two decades, it has established its position as an e-commerce business that is interested in coming up with solutions that offer the best customer experience. In this period, it has partnered with many offline partners to avail products to 99 percent of China’s population. Today, JD is proud to say that they can deliver over 90 percent of the orders within one business day. From a recent interview done by founder and CEO Richard Liu, JD can deliver its orders to customers in 6 to 20 hours.
JD.com has invested in technology to boost its logistics. It has initiated an innovations lab where major solutions on logistics are made. For instance, since 2015 JD has been using drone supported delivery service which ensures that products are delivered to remote parts of China in the shortest time possible. In major cities in the country, they have started rolling out autonomous robots to make deliveries in homes, office parks, and university campuses.
JD points out to technology and retail as two fields that will determine the success of any business going into the future. Although technology might not be that important to a brick-and-mortar retailer, there is a huge difference between a business that applies advanced technologies and one that remains stuck with traditional ways of doing business. Smart consumption, smart logistics, and smart supply chains are some of the contributions that can bring a significant difference.
Smart consumption is all about customer retention and creating loyalty in business. By integrating online and offline solutions, retailers can be able to satisfy the needs of their customers. For instance, the use of virtual or augmented reality can offer customers an opportunity to try out different items before purchase. Also, through the application of the internet of things, customers can now be able to purchase items from the comfort of their homes or cars.
Smart supply is about creating operational efficiency. Today, the influence of artificial intelligence and big data in business has transformed the way business is done. Today, people in business have an opportunity of coming up with solutions based on customers’ preferences. Factors such as at the number of items a customer wants to buy, the period over which they are bought among other details can be of great help to a retailer. It removes guesswork that is mostly applied in traditional retail business. Any brick and mortar businesses can make better decisions with accurate information on brands, inventory, pricing, sales among other business factors.
About Richard Liu
Richard Liu formed JD in 2004. Initially, it was known as JingDong. It is the largest retailer in China with a market value of over $60 billion.