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The retail industry is one of the oldest and most sustainable aspects of the global economy. However, much like anything else, it must evolve. And, the future is looking completely digital.

Two decades ago, customers could not trust that their online orders wouldn't be messed up, especially when they weren't speaking to an actual store employee. Even 10 years ago, having a personal shopper was quite far from the norm for anything online.

But the story is different now. Businesses have had to adopt minimal-contact models of operations, with some going completely digital to maintain consistency and growth, as the competition grows. Additionally, customers are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to online shopping. Their expectations focus on both product and service quality with a bias toward convenience. Consumer's will pay more for a solution.

No matter the channel, a solution-based retail strategy is a retailer's protection from being commoditized. Simply put, almost all products can be plugged into a search bar, but the combination of the product, the experience, and the service is impossible to commoditize.

Achieving optimum brand positioning within retail is important to business growth and development. Retailers can adopt certain strategies to ensure that their businesses maintain relevance in the digital market space competition. These strategies include transforming/creating their business website with an online store and optimized payment methods, implementing concierge services (personal shopping services), setting up logistics for delivery and packaging, and optimizing their customer service interface for prompt response time. Brick-and-mortar businesses can alter their traditional marketing strategies and optimize digital sales by creating the appropriate platform to maintain relevant competition in the market.

Concierge services — the future of retail

A concierge service is a personalized collection of services that covers a wide range of needs. At the onset of digital trade, concierge businesses have increased to cover the middle-ground between retailers and their customers. An aspect of concierge services that has become popular is the personalized shopping service, which helps customize the online shopping experience for customers.

An online personal shopping business model can include a list-upload feature, allowing customers to confirm goods availability, and to check out their cart instantly like Flipp. Another form of personal shopping could be a curated box or cart of items like Popup Grocer, based on the customer's previously specified needs and demands. In either model, the personal shopping service helps the customers get exactly what they want, while helping the digital retailer better manage stock availability.

For example, Amazon's Personal Shopper and Style Snap uses the personal shopping service strategy to stay at the top of the competition. Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is an Amazon subsidiary that allows users to request a styling expert to put together outfits based on their taste and choices. The selected items are then reviewed, paid for, and delivered to the customer.

Style Snap, on the other hand, gives customers the platform to upload pictures of fashion items and find online stores that sell the exact same thing or close alternatives, which they can shop at ease. Considering that Amazon is entering into the already-competitive online fashion industry, this strategy would prove quite effective in providing a unique value proposition to encourage sales and higher profit.

Another example of this is home store company Wayfair, which uses augmented reality to help shoppers determine the appearance of furniture in a shopper's home. The AR function is built into the company's app, allowing the shopper to take a photo of a room, and then virtually add the Wayfair products. This allows the shopper to determine how well (or not) the product will blend with the room's decor and dimensions.

While a comprehensive network of businesses is essential to the effectiveness of any concierge service, having a custom, on-demand delivery solution provides a hassle-free business model. At the end of the day, the business' unique angle for personal shopping depends on their creativity and digital optimization skills, as well as reliable delivery service.

Custom delivery service

Successfully entering the digital shopping ecosystem requires a foolproof business plan that covers all aspects required to transform the physical operations of the business into a virtual space. Providing an online space for customers to shop is one thing. Having the right logistics system for recording, packaging, and delivering their orders is another. Even the best personal shopping services won't do much good if the product doesn't get to the customer in a timely fashion.

Delivery solution providers supervise the supply chain and ensure that every section is completed according to industry best practices. They understand the tempo of the digital era and their position in the business model for effective strategy implementation. Furthermore, such providers are customer-service oriented, dedicated to ensuring that a product is delivered on time, and in place.

As the last-mile gap between retailer and customer, a qualified delivery solution provider ensures that the buying experience is more than about a quality product. It also means a seamless experience when it comes to product receipt.

Conclusion

Effectively scaling a retail business to match the pace of the digital era requires intricate planning, because customer satisfaction is based on everything you put online, literally. For that reason, it is important that retailers ensure impeccable logistics and delivery systems.

Concierge services can help in providing flexible and reliable solutions to help retailers improve customer retention and customer experience, and to achieve delivery performance milestones. By the same token, retailers can optimize digital sales with professional delivery solutions that fit into the strategic business model required to win in the digital era.