Industry Transformers

2015 will be a very exciting year for CSG’s prestigious content writers and industry experts

This year, our editors have unanimously agreed on a select collection of topics. Industry Transformers will highlight companies & executives who have managed to stay relevant in this ever changing environment. They will outline how businesses and people must evolve, adapt, and transform in order to become top leaders in the marketplace.

Enjoy our tenth topic: Online Shopping

 

Apparel & Department Store Retailers

 
Mobile shopping has greatly affected the retail industry. The widespread use of smartphones and tablets has become both a blessing and a curse for retailers. Consumers have become much savvier about shopping thanks to their mobile devices. Owners use their devices to make purchases, make payments or use coupons, to research products, or look up product availability. Mobile shoppers want instant access to information. Retailers must now be ready to provide consumers with the information and services they require both in-store and online.

When discussing mobile shopping, one retailer that continues to innovate comes to mind. Nordstrom Inc. serves customers online in 96 countries through nordstrom.com and nordstromrack.com and HauteLook. Nordstrom’s app is personalized and allows the consumer to buy online by easily scanning a credit card. While in Nordstrom stores, consumers can use the app to easily locate items and scan tags for product reviews and availability. The high-end retailer offers free shipping and free returns, all the time. In May of this year, Nordstrom launched TextStyle, a way for customers to make curated purchases from their salesperson or personal stylist using text messaging. Nordstrom was the first retail company in the U.S. to offer customers the ability to shop and buy with a text message.

As we get closer to the holiday season, free shipping will likely continue to be the most popular online shopping promotion offered by retailers. A growing number of consumers will take advantage of mobile-driven omnichannel offerings such as buy online, pick up in store or same-day delivery options. Companies who embrace mobile shopping and continue to adapt to consumer needs will win in the end.

 

Drug Store & HBC Chains

 
Online capabilities have undoubtedly increased efficiency for major pharmacy chains.  All of the ‘Big Three’ drug chains offer an abundance of pharmacy services online, while each has also successfully integrated mobile applications for its customer bases. Customers can automatically renew prescriptions, transfer files, or print historical records, all while having access to vast amounts of drug information online. In addition, Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS offer thousands of health and beauty care products, optical, and household items through ecommerce.

CVS encourages its customers to download its mobile application with exclusive deals. The app links to the company’s popular Extracare loyalty program. Rite Aid introduced its mobile app back in 2012 – two years after Walgreens – for prescription refills.  With Walgreens’ recent announcement of a proposed acquisition of Rite Aid, the combined entity could look to further expand its online offerings to its estimated 50 percent market share of the U.S. drug store industry.  
 

Grocery & C-Store Chains

 
While not currently a mainstream form of grocery and food shopping, the popularity of online ordering has increased in the past five years. The nation’s leading online grocer is also its oldest, and a pioneer in the ecommerce industry. Founded in 1989 by brothers Andrew and Thomas Parkinson, Peapod has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise that has shipped over 30 million grocery orders across 24 U.S. markets. The company is owned by Royal Ahold, which operates the Stop & Shop supermarket chain. This year, Peapod announced a program with Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) for delivering farm-fresh produce to customer doorsteps.

A new player in the market, Shipt, has partnered with Publix for grocery deliveries. The company has advertised delivery times in as little as an hour, but has struggled to meet strong demand in the Tampa Bay area market. Customers place orders through Shipt’s mobile app, and the company has had to beef up staff to meet demand. However, food delivery presents many challenges. Food retailing is already a low-margin business, and adding delivery costs obviously cuts into profits. Amazon recently announced a $299 a year charge for grocery delivery, which appears lofty in comparison to other services it offers. If anyone can master grocery delivery, a strong bet would be Amazon. The demand for this program will go a long way in sizing up the long-term viability of grocery ecommerce. 

 
Restaurant Chains

 
Dominating Mobile Ordering

When someone thinks about online or mobile ordering in the restaurant industry, companies like Starbucks, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Pizza Hut usually come to mind first, but there’s one company that is absolutely dominating on-the-go orders on every platform possible. That company is none other than Domino’s Inc.

Domino’s has a website, Domino’s Anyware, dedicated to all the various platforms customers can order their pizzas on. Over the past few years, Domino’s has perfected the ordering process so that any pizza lover can order through text, tweet, smart TV or smart watch, their car, or by voice. Once you’ve set up your Pizza Profile and Easy Order™ on Domino’s website, you can text the pizza emoji or “Easy Order” to DPIZZA(374992). In May, “tweet-to-order” was launched for all U.S. customers making Domino’s the first major player in the restaurant industry to use Twitter to complete orders. Again, all the Twitter user needs to do is tweet to @Dominos or use the hashtag #EasyOrder. Additionally, if you can’t reach your phone, you can place an order on your smart watch from your Android Wear® and Pebble Smartwatch®.

For those who refuse to take their eyes off the television during the big game or Netflix binge, Domino’s partnered with Samsung Smart TVs so that you can reorder previous orders, place an Easy Order™, or track your order on the screen through Domino’s Tracker®.  If you feel like talking to your phone, but are not on speaking terms with Siri, you can call upon Dom to place your order. Dom was created to make ordering through Domino’s mobile app easier and less of a hassle. The app can also be downloaded to your tablet, iPad, or to your car for easy ordering, too. Yes, that’s right. You can now order your pizza through Ford’s SYNC® APPLINK™.

Even with all this new technology, of course Domino’s wouldn’t forget those pizza patrons who simply refuse to order anyway but the old fashioned way by calling or using their personal computer. Domino’s understands the way you work and made their website user-friendly enough that it only takes about five clicks of a mouse to order your favorite pizza pie.

The Ann Arbor, MI-based pizza chain originated in 1960 with big hopes to conquer the hearts and stomachs of its consumers. Fast forward 55 years, the company has left little room for excuses to not order your favorite pie anywhere and at any time, which makes them the ultimate industry transformer in all things mobile ordering.