eCommerce

Store Agility Trends and Examples that Inspire in 2023

Not sure whether to take the brick and mortar plunge? See how omni-channel sellers are killing store agility in 2023

eCommerce

Store Agility Trends and Examples that Inspire in 2023

Not sure whether to take the brick and mortar plunge? See how omni-channel sellers are killing store agility in 2023

Author

Erica Price

Erica Price

Published

July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023

Long ago Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, made a powerful observation that’s just as true today.

"The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”

He goes on to say, “And because the purpose of a business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation.”

Today we’re focussing on innovation. The critical piece is that innovation continuously creates a customer. It’s job is never done, because the customer is never ‘finished’ evolving.

Enter: Store Agility.

What is Store Agility?

Quicker returns, new attention channels, Buy Now Pay Later, a global pandemic or recession. How do you respond to these ever-changing needs, wants, and realities?

Agility is your business’s core ability to respond to those changes quickly and effectively. And sometimes even anticipate them before they’re in full swing. According to the Agile Business Consortium, business agility can look like the following:

  • Swiftly adapting to market changes both internally and externally

  • Addressing customers' changing needs and expectations efficiently and flexibly

Why is Store Agility Important?

In eCommerce, agility is especially important. Individual consumers flex and change far quicker than enterprises do. This poses both challenges and opportunities for eCommerce businesses.

Your customers will thank you. You can serve customers with an offering they want, in the way they want. Customers feel heard, walk away more satisfied, and trust in you to evolve with them. They will come back.

You business becomes more resilient. No matter what the future brings, if you can adapt to it, you get to endure long enough to work towards your purpose. The business world is only getting more volatile, uncertain and complex, but agility is a way to handle some of that ambiguity.

The idea that a business can remain static and survive has never been true. Agility provides the tools to pivot and remains necessary to customers and changing market needs.

Examples of Agile eCommerce Brands

Sheet Society

From the very beginning of Sheet Society, founders Hayley & Andy Worley saw a better way to buy sheets.

From choosing your bedding in a department store, flicking between bundle sets wrapped in sweaty plastic, they took a radically different approach with customer wants and needs front of mind. Instead, they let customers ‘mix and match’ a variety of colours, textures and materials.

The magic of Sheet Society is bringing the look, feel and shopping experience of clothes fashion to bedding. Between the customer-centric product offering and the turbocharge that COVID-19 gave to e-commerce, they’ve seen incredible growth.

They’ve stayed agile through the pandemic and beyond. They’ve gone from being online-only to offering a more omni-channel experience with new brick-and-mortar stores. In-person POS and online shopping data blended into one. In-store pickup. Styling appointments.

They launched their ‘BedBuilder’, a market-first which allows customers to preview all the combinations from their product line on their own bed — or then book an appointment to see it made to specification on a bed in-store. Customers had more options, and a shopping experience that evolves with what matters to them.

Who Gives a Crap

Remember when COVID-19 caused unprecedented demand for toilet paper? As Australians stripped supermarket shelves in a stockpiling frenzy, manufacturers were forced to ramp up production to enable supply to catch up with demand.

According to WGAC’s CEO, Simon Griffiths, in March 2020, their daily sales surged 12-fold in the space of a week. So what did they do?

First, they went to their suppliers early. They already had great relationships with multiple suppliers to minimise risk in moments like these, and this agility paid off.

When COVID first appeared in the news, they were watching similar behaviour patterns in overseas markets and started talking to manufacturers daily. They were able to secure the majority of their spare capacity, just in time.

Second, they prioritised existing customers. The team decided to mark the online store as ‘out of stock’, in order to be able to service its existing subscribers and business customers. And they were able to promise subscribers they’ll never run out of toilet paper.

Amidst incredibly complex supply chain challenges and extreme customer behaviour, they stood by their customer base and delivered — by staying agile from the start.

How to Become More Agile as an eCommerce Store

At Instant Checkout, we’re helping eCommerce stores position themselves for a frictionless economy, a world where the experience of completing a transaction is effortless, and Instant, anywhere and everywhere across the internet. This all stems from the experience of the customer.

At it’s core, the purpose of being agile is to not fall behind your customers. As we’ve said, customers are never ‘finished’ evolving. Agile businesses are experts at understanding their customers and where they’re at today.

A great tool for doing building that understanding proactively is the Customer Feedback Loop.

The Customer Feedback Loop:

  1. Collect customer feedback

  2. Keep your ear to the ground with customers. Balance quantitative data with human conversations, and look at the world around your customers — what’s changing at a macro level? We go into customer feedback in more detail here.

  3. Analyse the feedback

  4. What’s at the root of customer pains and motivations? What are the opportunities for your store in the feedback? It could be new products, campaigns, shipping options or technology…

  5. Run tests and experiment

  6. Test the waters by running an experiment — let it out into the hands of your customers. And make sure you create the space to feel safe failing! Not every experiment will be a wild success.

  7. Get follow up feedback, iterate and repeat

  8. Check back with customers and see how the experiment landed. Did they loved it? Double down on it. If there’s work to do, loop back around.

Ultimately, the future is uncertain. Markets shift. Customers’ minds change. Trends naturally come and go. But if you want to stick around, continue to service your customers where they are today, and evolve with that future, you have to be prepared and ready to stay agile.

See Instant in action

Discover how Instant can help you generate more revenue, faster.

See Instant in action

Discover how Instant can help you generate more revenue, faster.