Time to spring clean your digital retail strategies
March 12, 2015 12:12 PM
Complacency is the enemy of today’s fast-paced digital age. Following the strong holiday season, now is the time for retailers to ‘spring clean’ their digital operations and continue to build their omnichannel presence. Consumer spending is on the rise, but as we witnessed this past holiday season, shoppers are spreading their dollars through the fall and winter months. This is in contrast to recent years where holiday spending kicked off on Black Friday and continued to the end of the year. Today, the holiday ‘season’ is starting as early as September! If retailers want to ensure a strong season in 2015, they must look critically at current infrastructure and start implementing new programs and technologies now. Spring ‘cleaning’ current infrastructure and strategies today is an investment in brands’ longevity.
As brands dust off from the past holiday, here are the key success factors to ensure a brighter 2015 shopping season:
- Evaluate: Assess the 2014 holiday season with a critical eye by evaluating what channels resonated most with shoppers, what failed and what needs improvement. Online and mobile shopping channels, for example, continue to gain popularity among shoppers. Mobile transactions increased 37 percent globally in Q4 2014, when they accounted for 25.8 percent of online purchases, reinforcing mobile’s play in retail environments. With this in mind, determine how to improve the mobile experience by asking: Is the user experience among these channels consistent and seamless? Are employees empowered to use digital tools to convert in-store users? Are promotions personalized to each individual? Assessing current infrastructures and shopping data will help brands determine where to invest this year.
- Experiment: The digital landscape is ripe with opportunity for retailers, but it doesn’t stop there. Consider testing out new digital offerings and services that appeal to your target audience. Amazon is currently piloting one-hour delivery services in Manhattan while Neiman Marcus recently launched its own mobile payment app. Others like Steve Madden are investing in personalization to create more engaging experiences with shoppers online. By testing out new tools and services now, brands have time to refine their approach later in the year.
- Entice: Brands must deliver on mobile this year to stand a chance at survival. We saw a significant increase in mobile traffic during the 2014 holidays among Certona’s customers. It’s clear mobile is a significant part of overall online traffic as more shoppers browse, research, compare and purchase on mobile devices. Recently Samsung and Google announced plans to enter the mobile payments industry. If these vendors succeed in the mobile payments race, is your brand ready? Consumers want a choice in how to shop and pay. Equipping stores and e-commerce sites with various mobile wallet capabilities is one way to appeal to the digital consumer. Brands must also entice shoppers with a personalized approach. A study found that 86 percent of consumers say personalization plays a role in their shopping decision. It’s obvious that the battle for consumers’ attention will continue to increase, and businesses must act on a winning mobile strategy to compete.
- Excite: An explosion of several technologies could very well make its way into retail environments. Wearables, for example, are expected to double in market size in 2015. This emerging trend offers data-rich context into consumer behaviors and preferences. Imagine knowing how often a shopper works out and offers moisture-wicking athletic apparel to complement their fitness activities. Brands can offer a virtual reality experience in fitting rooms or give shoppers access to highly coveted fashion shows. The sky is the limit thanks to emerging technologies like beacons, virtual currencies and interactive e-commerce environments.
Springtime symbolizes rebirth and renewal, and it’s no different for the retail industry. A cheerful economy presents an opportunity for brands to reinvest in their technology stack and improve the customer experience with more personalized offerings, innovative tools and services that elevate the shopper’s journey. Spring cleaning and optimizing current digital and personalization strategies will set brands up for success in a few months when planning for the holidays. Now is the time to start.
Certona provides personalization technology to 67 of the retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.