Over the course of a decade, we have seen revolutionary changes across the retail industry. With the rise of digital, shopper expectations have increased. This innovation has seen bricks-and-mortar businesses experience a decline in footfall as consumers yearn for technology-driven shopping that conveniently fits with their busy lifestyles. But it’s not all negative. Digital transformation has inevitably influenced the way businesses engage with their customers, and, as a result, brands have new opportunities for success online.
To stay competitive in retail, it’s becoming more and more of a necessity to implement omnichannel, intuitive solutions. It’s important to have a strategy to help improve your efficiency and growth but before jumping into eCommerce digital transformation, you first must plan. Consider your current business state, your objectives and your vision for the future. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your business’s needs, your road to successful digital transformation can begin. Here’s what you should be considering:
Deliver optimised customer service to create loyalty
A thought-provoking place to start is to consider your business’s shopping experience as a customer. What would you expect? A realistic delivery turnaround, regular promotional incentives, an enjoyable shopping experience and good customer service to say the least?
The way shoppers engage with brands has adapted with growing expectations, forcing businesses to improve their services. To maximise repeat business, brands need to identify the importance of their eCommerce offering, centring their strategy around UX to consider tailored content, cross-selling and upselling opportunities, display relevant offers and a streamlined checkout process. If you can consistently meet these expectations and aim to create intuitive processes that evoke emotion, you will drive customer loyalty. But why is loyalty so important?
Loyalty and customer retention should be a top priority for businesses because of the lifetime value a loyal customer holds compared to the high cost of new customer acquisition. We’re driven by our emotions, they impact our decisions and create lasting impressions which often inspire us to return to a certain business. Today, eCommerce has made shopping more accessible for businesses and consumers alike, inevitably increasing competition and making generally making people less brand loyal. This level of competition has created endless choice, making it more important than ever to have a loyal customer base. You are no longer just competing with businesses in your industry, your brand, products, site and processes need to work in synergy to produce the optimum experience to keep customers coming back again and again.
According to Klarna, consumers want to feel a deeper connection with a brand, feeling like the brand understands how the consumer wants to shop. Driving loyalty is a key part of this and helps businesses stay competitive amongst the demanding digital environment. The rise of social media also has a big part to play in maintaining your customer’s loyalty. Freedom of speech has only increased with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter providing a platform to express opinions, reviews, thoughts and ideas. This means delivering on expectations is fundamental to success.
Simplifying the purchase journey through increased efficiencies
Digital transformation provides businesses with the opportunity to improve and streamline processes. Conducting a code audit, you can analyse existing integrations with third-party solutions, CRM, ERP and accounting systems to identify key areas for improvement and ensure maximum efficiencies are being delivered. Can these can be simplified? If so, consider other solutions that will make the best of your website.
An example of this could be restructuring your product catalogue to include features such as configurable filters, related products and personalised product recommendations, making it more accessible and user-friendly. By providing fast, personalised purchasing services, such as previous order information and one-click checkout, you make it easier for your users to convert with you. These consumers will be more inclined to reward the experience with loyalty and repeat business.
If you do integrate new solutions, be prepared to train your team members on them. Workflows are expected to change as improvements are made but this is key to simplifying the purchasing journey. Self-service features are a big part of this and digital transformation as a whole. Users are empowered to complete actions and make decisions that before, they may have had to contact a member of the business to do. In turn, expenditure can be reduced as certain manual tasks will be digitalised freeing up your time to focus on offering expertise and further value to customers.
Using technology to grow your business and create a competitive edge
It’s important to consider your platform and whether it is performing to the best of its ability. Is it scalable? Is it capable of managing more products and achieving faster page speeds? Is it safe and secure to handle transactions? Cloud-based platforms such as Magento Commerce Cloud are growing in popularity, offering the flexibility to be proactive and meet rapidly changing needs of consumers – this may be key to preparing your business for growth.
The role of technology has evolved and its slowly but surely bridging the gap between digital and physical shopping experiences. Not only does an online presence expand your audience, but it also improves visibility and provides further engagement opportunities. Successfully translating a physical store experience into a digital one can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.
To satisfy customer demand for technology, you should consider omnichannel and Cloud solutions within your growth strategy. Over the years, large, long-standing brands have failed to quickly react to digital transformation with a detrimental effect on their business. Supermarket chain, Morrisons, was slow to launch their online offering and as a result, experienced a substantial loss of market share and continues to play catch-up with their competitors. On the other hand, market-leading automotive companies such as Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover have stepped up their digital game immensely, providing users with the service to purchase cars online through an interactive ‘Build your own car’ feature. Integrating pioneering technology enables businesses to enhance website experience and create a market advantage.
Aligning your bricks-and-mortar store with your eCommerce offering
The impending threat that is the ‘death of the high street’ has lingered for a long time with people quick to point the finger at eCommerce for its demise. Although physical stores have seen a drop in footfall, renowned retail consultant, Mary Portas, actually believes that, just like online, the high street is also transforming to be experience-led. Many businesses may simply be failing to put their customers’ needs at the heart of their business model, and whether you’re an online business, have a physical store or both, the key could lie in reimagining your offering.
If your business operates through physical and online stores, it’s important to align the two. Are the customers who shop online the same who shop in-store? What are their buying habits and how do they vary online vs. offline? Can you better support your physical store using your online presence through services such as click and collect or order in-store and deliver to home? Connecting the two creates a more immersive, consistent and convenient customer experience that covers all consumer touchpoints.
Our experience of digital transformation
We’ve had a lot of experience implementing successful digital transformation for clients. Conducting extensive work with Regis Salons and Supercuts who integrated their in-store and online bookings with third-party integration DotDigital, we supported them with the automation of marketing campaigns.
We regularly see our Magento clients across all eCommerce industries revolutionise their business through digital transformation. Key to growth, eCommerce has simply made it easier for brands to enhance their UX. Your competitors are no longer just those in your industry, but those who are offering stand-out online experiences. The world of retail is changing continuously and at a rapid pace, but by combining technological expertise with consultative services, we’re equipped to help brands transform their online business. Contact us today to find out how we can help.