Forrester predicts that mobile commerce will increase by 184 percent before 2019, eventually reaching $142 billion in the U.S. As tablet and smartphone transactions continue to rise, it's becoming increasingly apparent that modern consumers are using mobile technology during every step of the purchase journey — product research, in-store interactions and, ultimately transactions.
What's the biggest challenge retailers face when it comes to digital transformation? Creating cohesive omnichannel interactions. Brands need to merge critical areas (e.g., website, brick-and-mortar, mobile app) to create high-quality customer experiences. This means displaying unified branding across all platforms, while simultaneously providing intuitive shopping experiences.
Implementing cloud technologies is key to developing cohesive omnichannel experiences. What follows are three ways retailers can use technology to identify meaningful customer insights, master mobile shopping, and personalize employee touchpoints with consumers.
A typical customer journey is made up of fragments of intent-driven “micro-moments,” which can occur in several different environments (online, in-store, through interaction with a sales rep, or via a hands-on experience with a product or service, just to name a few). Identifying the customer journey is paramount to understanding who your buyer is, and what's important to them. Retailers can use cloud technologies to discover what customers are looking for, as well as what types of content they’re consuming. Once you have a foundation for what your target customer looks like, the next step is streamlining the tools and processes used to reach them.
Tech to consider: Google Trends, Google Consumer Surveys and YouTube Trends
Implement Mobile Payments
Customers want to make easy purchases, both online and offline. Therefore, retailers should consider which cloud technologies they can implement to help simplify the checkout process. Mobile payments should ultimately render credit/debit cards obsolete, but like credit cards before them, the popularity and use of mobile payments will grow as they're more widely used by customers and accepted by retailers. Paying with your phone will inevitably become as routine as swiping a card or handing a cashier a $20 bill. The companies willing to shake legacy systems will survive and thrive in a digital ecosystem.
Tech to consider: Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal
Invest in Personalization
Today’s consumer has grown accustomed to experiences that are highly personalized. According to Infosys, 86 percent of consumers responding to a survey said that personalization plays a part in their buying process, impacting future purchasing decisions. If retail brands don’t quickly acquire tools and technology capable of collecting and interpreting the online habits of customers, they will fall behind when it comes to personalization. Email marketing is one example of the shopping experience that should be hyperfocused and on-par with customer preferences, interests and purchases. This can include product recommendations, special offers, important dates for that consumer and more.
Tech to consider: Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Community Cloud
With the mobile-first customer in mind, retailers that "get on board” and successfully undergo digital transformations will win, achieving increased customer retention and loyalty, revenue and return on investment, and longevity. Cloud experts offer end-to-end expertise to help retailers implement the best set of solutions for their customers and employees.
Ashley Stepien is the director of product marketing at Appirio, a global services company that helps customers create next-generation worker and customer experiences using the latest cloud technologies.