Technology has significantly changed the path to purchase. The smartphone revolutionized how we shop, and consumer expectations have changed–with the digitally-focused consumer craving personal, contextual experiences with instant gratification. In fact, according to BigCommerce research, by 2021, mobile commerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total commerce sales.
Through massive improvements in mobile ordering, same-day delivery and voice technology, the traditional retail or sales experience is viewed as inconvenient, thus no longer satisfying. Customers crave a fluid commerce experience that uses digital and physical channel interactions, AR visualization, and contextual personalization to quickly find products that meet their needs.
In order to stay ahead, sellers must understand the changes they need to make to their sales system and why such innovation is important. Below are four key takeaways that will help companies develop a fluid commerce strategy that will improve their business:
No. 1: Know Your Customer, They’re in Charge
Intimate knowledge of your customer–their hopes, motivations, habits and fears–is more important now than ever before. Fluid commerce is rooted in providing a contextual, personalized experience for customers across all the channels they use to make a purchase, whether that’s mobile, social or voice search. The only way to successfully do that is by diving in to exactly what makes them tick.
For example, a retailer might want to understand how customers search for sneakers–they’ll notice that Pinterest and Instagram are the two most popular channels that they’re discovered by customers, so they’ll want to ensure that their content is shoppable with same-day delivery options, and may make investments in AR and VR capabilities so people can visualize how a pair of shoes will look on them before making a purchase.
In the end, the customer is in charge of the commerce experience, and organizations must adapt their overall strategy to buyer behavior. Ensuring that sales channels always have the most up-to-date information, providing customized experiences on social and mobile, and improving payment, delivery and return processes will keep a business competitive.
No. 2: Invest in Research and Analytics
Collecting information on your customer and investing the time and resources to properly analyze it is the key to developing a deep understanding of their motivations, which will allow you to properly create a fluid commerce strategy.
For example, a young professional that just purchased their first home wants to buy a new dishwasher. An appliance retailer should invest in research and data analytics to understand the first-time homebuyer and their motivations when shopping for big-ticket items. A retailer using fluid commerce could leverage consumer insights to provide a number of options to enhance the customer experience, including a mobile optimized web experience, ‘reserve online, purchase in-store’ capabilities, same-day delivery and installation, or even a discount for a customer that’s purchased from them before. Through these types of contextual, personalized experiences based in thoughtful research, retailers can remain competitive.
No. 3: Content is King, but Data is Queen
Not only do businesses need to invest in quality research tools to understand their target consumer, but they also must devote resources to creating premium, engaging content that will convert their social media followers and website visitors into paying customers.
However, personalized content doesn’t find its way to consumers alone. Organizations must leverage the wealth of data they collect from customers that already engage with them in order to both retain loyal followers and gain new ones. Along with investing in research and analysis, businesses need to devote resources to a top-notch content management system. By utilizing in both the technology and the human resources retailers can maintain it and create those contextual, personalized experiences that ensure a seamless path to purchase.
No. 4: Look to the Future Today
In order to remain competitive, businesses must plan for the future now. Stay on top of emerging trends and technology, and test and learn how effective those are with pilot programs of interested users. Innovation happens at a rapid pace, and businesses that do not embrace it will fall behind into oblivion.
For example, you may have delivery speeds that rival Amazon Prime, but have you started integrating voice search and AI into the purchase process? If not, your business is already at risk of falling behind in comparison to competitors. Businesses that are already mastering fluid commerce have been testing and developing such technologies for years now.
Fluid commerce might seem complex, but it is essential that organizations embrace it if they want to maintain relevancy. Those who see the most success know when to engage the right experts. With technology at its core and a focus on the customer, Rightpoint is equipped with the tools necessary for a fluid commerce strategy, ready to help user in a new era of retail and sales.
Click here to learn more about how to create a contextual and relevant customer experience across all touchpoints.