How A Digital Store Platform Delivers Awesome Shopping Experiences
Retailers all want to enhance their customers’ experience with their brand. Whether the consumer is a clicks (online) or bricks (in-store) shopper or, increasingly, one whose experience moves from clicks to bricks and back again, they demand a high quality, enjoyable, hassle-free shopping experience.
If a retailer can deliver that experience, the shopper will have a much higher propensity to become a loyal customer, to spread the word about the brand and to spend more in each and every transaction.
We have seen, through research and first-hand experience, the rise of the connected consumer. The smart, savvy shopper who knows how they want to shop and demands that retailers provide an experience that matches up to those demands. A shopper who wants to use technology, a customer who naturally assumes that a retailer’s online and instore offers are all part of one, seamless, customer-focussed system. A shopper who expects to be at the centre of the retailer’s universe and who demands to be known, recognised and understood. A shopper who will share their information and preferences and who wants to build a relationship and show loyalty, but who will walk away as soon as the level of experience slips from being positive, or if they are made to feel less than the most important part of the retailer’s world.
Three of the most effective ways that a retailer can meet the expectations of these highly demanding customers are
- Click and Collect/BOPIS – iVend Retail’s commissioned shopper survey showed that more than half (57.5%) of consumers have used Click and Collect. But less than one third (31.6%) describe the process as “smooth.” Giving plenty of room for improvement.
- Location Based Solutions – Research tells us that the ideal time for a retailer to deliver an offer to a shopper is at the point of decision. Integrating in-store sensors with a powerful promotions engine enables the right offers to be made at the right time, increasing take-up and enhancing customer experience.
- Personalisation – We know that shoppers want a more personal interaction with retailers than ever before. They are willing to share data, and in return don’t want to be bombarded with generalised marketing, but to be presented with tailored, meaningful offers.
Delivering these experiences requires a highly sophisticated retail ecosystem. An ecosystem that needs to be tailored to each retailer’s specific requirements and which is flexible enough to move and adapt as quickly as customer’s shift to the next new demand.
Building such a system is only possible if the retailer has the ability to integrate all the necessary components, allowing them to seamlessly share data so that a transaction that starts in one part of the system can be progressed in another and finalised in yet another.
Integrating diverse systems, from POS, to loyalty, to location sensing to inventory can be difficult if those systems are proprietary and locked down. But if they are based on an Open Platform, with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the business of connecting them, sharing data between them and building a single, homogenous ecosystem is made significantly simpler and more cost effective.
For example, an open platform allows the e-commerce site to interface with inventory and in-store systems to deliver “smooth” Click and Collect.
Location sensors can be integrated via an open platform with a promotions engine to enable offers to be made at the point of purchase and data to be captured about redemption.
Data about customers’ preferences and purchases in every channel can be integrated via an open platform and leveraged to make relevant and personalised offers that make the customer feel known and valued.
An Open Platform approach when choosing the components of your retail ecosystem is one of the most important decisions you can make in terms of positioning for omnichannel integration, which is the foundation of a positive customer experience.