Omnichannel is out. The standard experience is everything. In this article, Olivier Gay, Global Retail Manager, Software AG, explains why it is time for retailers using a unified approach to customers. He calls it "social shopping".
Related technologies – such as the Internet for inventory control, in-store interactive displays and smart pricing – have the potential to transform retail operations, but these techniques can also be applied to the shopping experience literally "doing what the Amazon can not do."
Often, retailers believe that omnichannel is synonymous with "multi-channel" experience, rather than one unified experience, where statistics are collected and shared across different customer contact points for online, mobile, and physical stores. The problem with the multichannel approach is that they often waste every aspect of customers' buying paths, where they must work together to provide a better consumer experience and more data-driven statistics for retailers.
With almost the third Of consumers who are now shopping on a mobile device, making the introduction of a unified experience vital. So, how do retailers make sure they capture the attention, data and business of their customers in the end?
Socially savvy consumers
As the chancellor realized in the fall budget, the UK has embraced online retailing like any other advanced economy. In fact 87% of all purchases are made online according to Royal Mail. But it's not just how you buy things, but how to look for them – our buying methods – that retailers need to deal with.
Instagram is particularly effective in retail, and most users access it via the app on mobile devices, which means they're just a few clicks from retail sites and purchases. A recent study by Facebook Found that about 300 million people use Instagram stories daily and are used by many in the "Keep an eye on the brands they care about, get an inside view of the products they love, and learn about new products that are relevant to them. "Instagram is currently running a new standalone application dedicated to shopping, and it is rumored that users are allowed to browse groups of goods from their merchants and then buy them directly within the app.
The speed and ease of use of social applications, along with an ever-increasing set of integrated payment options for mobile phones, make social channels a powerful tool for retailers. But as consumers become more familiar with mobile shopping, retailers should make sure their channels are easy to use across any device.
Fastest and easiest shopping is a key element in delivering a customer experience. In order to attract a new generation of shoppers, retailers need to be not only socially prepared, but they offer a real interactive experience through channels.
For example, if your client opens Instagram and "likes" a picture of the goods from your domain, you need to know. In fact, if a customer accesses Instagram on their mobile phone and then clicks on a link to your products, your app or mobile site, then places that item in their data basket, you should display the same item in their data basket if you're signed in to the Internet via a desktop browser Office or laptop – All purchase options must be linked.
Internet brands such as Misguided, PrettyLittleThing and boohoo.com are trademarks of the new generation of fast fashion, the first millennium. These brands were not only successful because their great display and user experience helped them bring millions of fans to social networks, or because they were constantly collaborating with influencers within their target audience. This is because they treat social networks as a sales platform, linking data from all their channels (in-store, online, and mobile) to deliver customized content and targeted ads to consumers. But it was also built to be the Internet first – giving it a big advantage over older retailers with more legacy technology.
So, how do retailers continue?
In the new era, always, shopping never stops. In order to keep customers' attention, it is important that retailers have a fully shared approach, from their websites and mobile sites, to social media applications and channels, to delivery of goods – and even returns, customer feedback and product reviews. The dominant channel approach across companies is no longer great; it is no longer enough.
In order to create a unified customer experience, retailers need to ensure the flexibility of their technical framework. Their approach needs to support innovation on a large scale through the ability to coordinate new processes across multiple existing systems, while flexible enough to use new technologies such as artificial intelligence, automated learning, and Internet objects where appropriate.
Digital transformation means organizational changes and the use of new technology to enable business change; it enables retailers to exploit new business models and income-generating opportunities, but also in the future to allow for more innovation. In the current research landscape, digital transformation is essential for retailers to deliver the best customer experience and will never accept anything less. Shopping must be social. And unified.