5 tech practices BnM should acquire from E-comm
April 30, 2019
Jash Choraria, Founder, Unifynd, pens down 5 e-comm practices to be adopted for BnM success.
Five tech practices BnM should acquire from e-commerce
With evolution of technology, and innovations aimed at enhancing customer experience, it has become apparent that the future of retail lies in a hybrid of online and offline. There has to be a merger between the network of brick and mortar retail stores and the web-based digital tools. Towards the turn of the millennium, e-commerce has disrupted the retail industry and caused anxiety or FOMO, among the existing retail giants globally.
Data is the new oil!
Data drives efficiency in business operations, maximizes revenues, and optimizes costs. By driving a data-driven culture, retailers can get a thorough understanding of the kind of interactions consumers have across the physical retail space. Today, with data captured from apps, Wi-Fi services, POS, purchase history and even security cameras, you can understand consumer behaviour and preferences. Equipped with this knowledge, you can curate a personalized experience by customizing pricing strategies, promotions, product placements, and assortments. This data can also serve as the building block for developing advanced analytical tools that forecast demand, manage inventory and allow the business to drive efficiency and optimization. So buckle-up and hop on the data wagon!
Customer experience is key
The biggest difference between an online and offline channel of sale is: Customer Experience (CX). E-commerce platforms have successfully blended physical elements of traditional stores with digital elements by giving consumers the ability to browse a virtual store and shop using any online device. User-centric platforms enable e-commerce businesses to integrate functionality with customer delight. Taking the cue, brick and mortar retailers need to curate personalised and novel experiences for their customers.
Starbucks teamed up with Alibaba to introduce an Augmented Reality (AR) app at their Reserve Roastery in Shanghai. It provided an immersive, omni-channel experience allowing users to order through their phones, learn about the roasting process and engage with the business in an innovative way. This is a great example of how you can turn even the most passive aspects of the customer journey into engaging experiences.
Modern 360° Marketing
Modern retailers need to build a strong brand identity and recall among their customers. Customer engagement is not just about the in-store purchase process. You have to predict what your customers want and adopt a 360° marketing approach. Customers need to be constantly engaged through effective targeted interactions via various online and offline channels, thus, cultivating brand loyalty.
Marketing is no longer a mass communication aimed at the target audience, but, an individualized interaction with each customer. 21st century brands leverage consumers to grow their business, creating a vibrant and unique brand image. Undertaking a multi-channel and relevant marketing strategy merging the salient aspects of traditional and digital marketing will help physical retailers to turn their consumers into brand ambassadors.
Online retailers optimally integrate various processes to create a seamless customer experience. By integrating their supply chain and warehouses to the front end, they provide customers real-time information regarding the products on offer. It facilitates a faster and smoother buying experience which in turn fosters customer loyalty and repeat sales.
Physical retailers struggle to deliver such an integrated experience, but, they can bridge the gaps by adopting the Internet of Things technology. They can deploy sensors, cameras and other integrated devices to generate data that can help improve efficiency and customer experience. RFID enabled warehousing and inventory management tools are gaining popularity and can help create a superior customer experience. Time has come when the retailers should harness the IoT to delight customers in ways they never could have in the past.
Agile Technology Adoption
The flexibility and dynamism of e-commerce user experience is missing in traditional retail. Businesses need to be change-ready and create original, flexible and simple tech-based products and services. It would help them get rid of cumbersome product development cycles and become receptive to test-and-improve approach. They should test new products, events and services and swiftly integrate customer feedback to develop a superior product. This dynamic technology adoption requires retailers to break away from the mould. They need to become highly customer-centric and be open to change anything and everything that they currently offer.
Digital technology and e-commerce practices are not an existential threat to brick and mortar retailers. They need to observe and understand the best e-commerce practices and be flexible to integrate the new age technology into their operations. This would help them build a loyal customer base and give them the dynamism required to grow in the 21st century retail landscape!
Jash Choraria is the founder of Unifynd Technologies, a startup focused on building holistic, user-centric, technology products. At Unifynd, Jash wants to create a cohesive ecosystem where smart people with diverse backgrounds can work in a collaborative environment to build world-class products.
Associate Editor, Retail4growth
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