Why avoiding technology is a mistake for retailers

Refusing to adapt with the times can hurt business.

Why avoiding technology is a mistake for retailers

“The backbone of any good business model for the retail industry should address four catalysts that drive disruption: economy, enabling technologies, platforms and consumer mindset.”– Deloitte

There are basically three things you can accomplish with the Internet: search for stuff, find stuff and buy/sell stuff. And technology drives all these processes.

Just look at the recent statistics from Black Friday. Americans spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours. From Nov. 22 through Nov. 26, they spent $24.2 billion shopping online—23% more than what they spent over the same five days in 2017, according to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). Cyber Monday took in the most online sales of the holiday weekend, with a record $7.9 billion (up 19% year-over-year).

Shopping via mobile devices reached $2.8 billion (up 41% year-over-year). But the star of the show was the smartphone, which accounted for $2.2 billion in spending— up a whopping 56% from last year. Meanwhile, statistics show in-store foot traffic was down nearly 2% compared to the same two days last year.

Consumers are quickly gravitating toward avoiding the store experience in favor of “point-and-click”—except in our category because our traditional retail resources have ignored the shopping trends of consumers everywhere.

Why? We don’t research the technology resources available to us, the “perceived” cost vs. what the ROI would deliver, and the main reason: the arrogance of ignorance. Yep, most of us in this category purposefully ignore consumers’ wants, needs and desires because we still steadfastly believe consumers want the in-store experience, when in fact that statistic is shrinking, and we refuse to accept it. retail

Just look at your “Time on Site.” If it’s not over five minutes, you just failed in engaging today’s consumer. (I’ll bet it’s closer to 2-3 minutes, if even that.) Then look at your bounce rate. If it’s over 15%, you’re really failing the consumer engagement test.

Is your store traffic down? Are your sales up year over year? If you’ve answered yes to No. 1 and no to No. 2, it may be time to rethink everything—now!

Let’s look at 3-D visualization technology. Three companies in our industry come to mind: Cylindo (cylindo.com), PictureYourFurniture (pictureyourfurniture.com) and roOomy (rooomy.com). They understand how to communicate with consumers because 93% of all communication is non-verbal and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

I saw a demonstration of Picture Your Furniture, and I was amazed at what they’ve done in our category. The products they’ve rendered are incredible, and the ability to manipulate the rooms or even the whole house is extremely engaging and realistic.

They even developed an application that can show your customers how their outdoor space and landscape will look in one, five or 10 years via time-lapse integration. Think “Property Brothers” and other makeover shows— everyone wants to see the reveal, right?

For your business to evolve with what consumers want, manufacturers must adopt 3-D product rendering so website or design services can import the “actual product.” It’s easy to do, as they all use CAD-CAM for 3-D rendering designs.

Many manufacturers are not engaged with these types of technologies. They prefer to show pictures and product catalogs— which consumers have rejected in favor of technologies that they can control and engage with the way they want.

These technologies will change your business. The facts and statistics prove it, and if you don’t engage with this technology, your business will become irrelevant.


Bill Napier is managing partner of Napier Marketing Group and a serial disruptor. His thought provoking blog will challenge conventional wisdom, look under the industry’s hood and seek to uncover the critical clues to improving its performance. Bill has been the chief marketing officer of several small, medium and large companies throughout his career, most notably Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., from 2000-2005. His passion is to help retail brands & brick mortar retailers grow their business by creating, guiding and deploying successful marketing B2B/B2C solutions integrating traditional marketing with the web/social media.