Understanding the value of digital technologies, personalization, and agility in the face of disruption
Once again, Adobe highlighted new developments in the digital sphere with the release of its annual Digital Trends study. The outcomes are used to assess current events and consider the future. We’ll pay close attention to the trends and conclusions that are especially pertinent to the retail sector in this piece.
The results of this year’s research show that it is more crucial than ever to adapt to changing client requirements and to personalize at scale. In addition, the research addresses the industry’s volatility, demonstrates how retailers are coping with upheaval, and highlights the benefits of agile IT and your underlying technological investments.
Over the next two years, 53% of retailers predict that demand for their businesses’ digital experiences will increase.
Retail Becomes Much More Intimate
Retail has used personalization for a very long time. Nevertheless, it continues to be one of the year’s most used marketing phrases. Although not a novel idea, merchants must now bridge the customization gap that exists between what customers want and what they can really give. Customer loyalty is also under jeopardy and up for grabs at the same time. Moving forward, keep the following in mind:
- Expectations have permanently changed. First off, it’s crucial to recognize that the shift to digital that started with the epidemic is permanent. Customers increasingly need shops to grasp the digital experience, which requires foreseeing their future demands.
- Customers want to be acknowledged across all of your platforms. Customers demand linked, seamless experiences both in-person and online, according to this. Retailers will need to work extra harder to comprehend engagement across all channels as a result of this.
- Being unique is growing more difficult. Customer loyalty may swiftly alter in the increasingly complicated and competitive economy. Given the variety of options available to customers today, keeping relevant will require more work. While many merchants are aware of the value of experience, it’s time to set your experiences apart from the competition. Examine novel approaches to enhancing in-store purchases using digital technology, and vice versa.
- Customers need reliability and sincerity. Customers are aware that shops confront a variety of difficulties, particularly at this time. They don’t demand excellence. Customers like it when you establish reasonable expectations and swiftly inform them if you can’t deliver on them. In other words, customers want shops to be responsive and open.
Disruptions Are Now Commonplace
Retailers always have to deal with ambiguity and uncontrollable problems. The way your company handles the unexpected, though, is what matters the most.
- There will be business turbulence. Your capacity to sharpen your focus on the client and provide seamless omnichannel experiences will be crucial throughout 2022 and beyond, despite difficulties like supply chain bottlenecks and growing prices.
- The stakes have never been higher. Online retail holiday season spending surpassed $200 billion for the first time in 2021, up 44% from 2019; these figures are anticipated to rise even more in upcoming years. Increase your agility now so that you can quickly adjust to changing conditions and possibilities.
- The in-store experience will be influenced more by mobile technologies. Mobile technology shines as a platform for stronger brand interaction while businesses struggle with a lack of human resources. In fact, 37% of practitioners in our study said that their top investment priority for the nearest future would be mobile apps for in-store buying.
- Consent-based marketing will be driven by the loss of data from tracking cookies. The need to identify new methods of accessing and combining customer journey data is increasing as a result of the approaching elimination of third-party cookies. Successful retailers will transition away from using third-party cookies and toward just using consumer data that has been given explicit permission.
Integrating Platforms and Combining Data Will Pay Off Handsomely
The technology you have at your disposal will influence your capacity to respond to changes in the environment and seize opportunities as they arise. Make sure IT decision-makers participate in strategy discussions and are aware of the nuances of the retail industry.
- Experiences and channels must be linked. Today’s retailers can’t afford to work in isolated silos. Each of your key platforms, including commerce, point of sale, warehouse management, order management, and others, must operate in unison.
- Modern businesses are using artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline consumer data and enhance the user experience. Retailers are finding it simpler and less expensive to link the data pieces that assist customized experiences thanks to more advanced AI technologies. But if merchants want to employ AI and machine intelligence, upskilling is essential (ML). Employees will be able to delegate manual chores in favor of higher-value activities that alleviate client problems and produce innovative experiences thanks to automation as well.
- Put your data approach first. Despite the progress that merchants have achieved in this area, more can be done. Only 25% of respondents believe they are “very effective” in gathering and safeguarding data.
Create Your Own Success Plan
Success is elusive, especially in the retail industry. “Keeping up” is insufficient. Retailers need to keep an eye out for the latest innovations and trends. That does not entail following every trend. Instead, you should be willing to change and open to new habits.
You must consider the fact that customers do not think in terms of distinct channels or phases, such as mobile vs in-store, while designing the digital experience. Because of how everything is connected, it is more crucial than ever to personalize the client experience. Instead of trying to tailor your operations to match the demands of each individual client, you should take a holistic approach to customer consideration. Keep in mind that your staff members are a vital asset, and you may leverage automation and mobile technology to assist their work. In order to improve insight gathering and expedite workflows and provide the best possible customer experience in the nearest future and beyond, adopt intelligent technologies, including AI and ML.