Rethink Retail: Deliver the Connected Customer Experiences
According to a research conducted by Big Commerce: 67% of the millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store. The millennials, also known as the Echo Boomers: the largest generation of young people that makes approximately 30% of the population in Pakistan only.
Globally the retail industry has entered into a new era — an era in which the digital consumer has essentially changed their buying behaviors through the usage of the latest technologies. The digital consumers literally carry the retail in their pockets now. On the contrary, for too many retailers the digital shift is more of a multi-channel strategy. Responsive website? Check! Mobile App? Check! Active Social Media Channels? Check! The focus is on delivering a checklist of disparate digital channels and not on building a cohesive customer experience. Although, the term Omni channel has become a part of the day to day vocabulary of retailers; however, too many of them are struggling to understand the true essence of it — that is heavily reliant on the fluid demands of the digital customers.
To stay relevant, retailers need to deeply understand the shifting behavior and habits of always-on-the-go customers; improve technologies and platforms to exceed the customer expectations across the channels; and anticipate and get ready for the future needs of these digital customers. Now is the time to rethink and redefine the digital transformation in the retail sector.
The connected customer experience has become a new El Dorado for the retailers. The realization of its full potential demands an outside-in approach — ultra-focused on customers and agile enough to respond to the ever-changing needs of the market. Unlike the past, when businesses were driven by Inside-out thinking in which strategies were developed internally with the focus largely on the internal viewpoints, the outside-in approach starts with the questions what customers really need?; What value can your products deliver to the customers; and then designing your offerings around those ideas.
The outside-in approach is simple. It requires retailers to keep their digital assets flexible and to be able to collaborate with external partners to design new products and services quickly. This process — exchanging information to and fro the systems and formulating a cohesive, frictionless experience for the ender users— requires open APIs. Well-managed APIs enable the retailers to allow developers to connect with the legacy systems and mix and match data to deliver new products, services and applications quickly, at scale.
It will not be incorrect to say that the retailers today are battling in the micro-moments of the digital customers. The moments like I-want-to-know and I-want-to-buy, are the ones that trigger the customers to pick up the mobile and search for the relevant options. The buying decisions take place in a matter of seconds. In such an environment, cohesiveness, reliability, and speed become an integral part of the whole system. And only those retailers remain competitive who can transform these micro-moments into profoundly connected customer experiences.