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12 June 2015

Retail success in the digital world

This post is also available in: Spanish

To compete successfully in today’s ultracompetitive market and avoid customer churn, companies are obliged to reshape their operations in accordance with consumer desires, enhance customer experience and offer omnichannel consistency.

The successful companies will be those which stay abreast of current trends and develop a flexible business using next-generation technology to track and measure customer behavior, provide consistency, digital channel excellence and enhanced consumer experience.

2015 will see an increase in companies using platforms such as Social Media and mobile to engage users and as another channel for selling their products and services. Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are no longer simply a means of marketing products and communicating, in fact the recent launch of “buy” options on social sites provides a whole new realm of possibilities for retailers, allowing purchases to be completed much faster. Shoppers can simply tap on the product image for more details and proceed to checkout.Retail

Millennials account for a large segment of the consumer market and will thus influence retail patterns. This generation has grown up using technology and account for the highest percentage of Smartphone owners. These tech-savvy consumers value speed and efficiency and expect their needs to be fulfilled by just the touch of an icon or click of a mouse, urging retailers to invest in robust order fulfillment systems and multichannel services.

Multichannel Shoppers typically partake in a variety of activities. The most popular being online research, indeed according to a recent survey over 80% of people questioned use different channels to make a single purchase. Many shoppers research and compare online prices before shopping in-store. Furthermore click-and-collect is proving to be a popular, convenient option and increases consumer spending. These shoppers increasingly use different channels such as online, catalogue, bricks and mortar, TV shopping networks, mobile and tablet Apps, etc. to make their purchases. 58% of the people surveyed in the US like receiving offers by mobile phone and this marketing method seems even more popular across the globe, for example, in China where 79% were pleased to see offers on their Smartphones.

Companies keen to explore new technologies are using iBeacons and other near-field communications (NFC) to advertise products in stores. These innovations allow apps to receive location-aware notifications via Bluetooth to improve customer experience. US grocery stores using iBeacons have witnessed an increase of almost 20 times in customer interaction with the advertised products.

With the increasing global competition, reducing customer churn becomes even more complicated. Businesses will need to devise new unique loyalty schemes and optimal shopping experiences. Generic points used by many companies for quite some time have become outdated and are being replaced by customized rewards to captivate consumers and heighten loyalty.

In order to understand their customers and provide these customized shopping experiences and rewards, retailers will need to rely heavily on Intelligent Analytics and Big Data. AuraPortal’s Intelligent Analytics help organizations to understand, analyze and even predict consumer activity and the in-Cloud option makes it affordable for small and medium retailers.