Omnichannel commerce success requires going beyond having websites, mobile apps and physical stores. To excel, retailers must focus on bite-sized chunks that will have impact quickly, such as implementing personalisation. Retailers that drive omnichannel at scale must also deal with legacy systems. In China, ecommerce giant Alibaba has successfully merged online and offline retail with its grocery chain Hema. Customers use a mobile app to scan products, get information and pay for groceries. Complex integrations are required to achieve this, which Made to Engage can deliver.
Retailers are expanding beyond the ‘buy’ moment to focus on a different moment in the retail journey in order to offer a memorable experience. Some are curating social media to optimise the ‘inspire’ part of the journey while others are focusing on the ‘receive’ moment with a great delivery experience. To differentiate themselves retailers should choose one or two steps in the customer retail journey and come up with ways to offer unique experiences in those moments. At Made to Engage, we approach our CX design projects by looking at how our solutions fit into a broader system of customer engagement.
To lead, B2B and B2C retailers need to understand their customers and deliver products that connect with individuals on a one-to-one level. The most powerful digital commerce platforms understand customers’ behaviour and present data-driven interactions across the retail journey. Leveraging Episerver technology, Made to Engage helped book retailer Eason to achieve incredible business results and compete with giants. Our approach used data to drive personalisation and create a seamless customer retail journey, boosting online revenue by 30%.
AR and VR technologies have moved beyond being experimental. For example, our partner Episerver has worked with Swedish giant H&M to develop a voice-activated ‘magic mirror’ in its flagship New York store. The mirror invites customers to take a selfie which it can put out on social media, as well as providing automated shopping lists and the scanning of QR codes for discounts. The interactive experiences offered by the mirror can be managed through Episerver as part of an omnichannel e-commerce solution.
Traditional channels, like email, still drive significant ROI for many brands. Retailers should be wary of being overly dependent on traffic and revenue from one specific channel, especially if they can’t control changes within that channel. If a large percentage of your traffic comes from organic search, for example, could your online business survive if you lost that traffic overnight? It’s vital to diversify while bringing all of these experiences into one seamless interaction to future-proof your business.
Content that influences customers is key. For example, in order to efficiently make bookings, travel companies ask customers for travel dates, activities they’ll undertake and locations they’re focused on. These decisions have already been made by the customer who is enthused about surfing, may realise there’s great surf on the Irish coast and may know when they want to travel. An ecommerce platform that can record these decisions to create related content that guides customers in their decision-making will strengthen customer conversion rates.
Analytics is no longer just for digital platforms but is now being utilised in-store to identify customer behaviour, and even identify returning customers as soon as they enter a physical store. By analysing footfall, browse times and more, shops can stock appropriate products. Interactive cameras are now being deployed in physical stores to view stock levels on shelves and automatically request more products to replenish these areas of the store as they run low. It simplifies purchases for customers while allowing companies to gather data.
In the future, retail will be more flexible. Although the traditional high street is in decline, it is likely that in the future the high street will transform into experiential destinations and retailers will offer pop-up food outlets, salons and more. And in digital commerce, we’ll see digital-first brands bringing products to customers in mobile stores. The strategy is to meet your customer where they are, both physically and in the digital space. Innovative retailers will adapt to provide flexible experiences and varied offerings.