5 Tips for Retailers to Effectively Leverage Mobility and New Digital Technologies
1. Plan ahead. Adopt change-friendly platforms and apps that allow for quick, frequent changes to content and functionality. This way, retailers can keep up with advances in mobility and web-based technologies.
2. Adapt quickly. Change-friendly technology encourages experimentation with offerings and new customer experiences, adjusting or replacing functions and features based on what works. It also makes it possible to respond quickly to innovations by competitors.
3. Avoid disasters. Flaky e-commerce processes or displaying inaccurate information can be costly, with the former ushering consumers to the competition and the latter potentially causing major headaches. Last fall, Wal-Mart wrongly displayed on its website items worth more than $500 each for less than $10. Catching the error too late, Wal-Mart cancelled purchases, angering customers and taking PR and stock price hits as a result.
4. Test first. To prevent costly disasters, retailers should test and retest before launching any new systems, websites or apps. Quality assurance (QA) — particularly validation testing where anomalies are picked up as a result of changes made to supporting systems and applications — is essential to a successful launch.
5. Test quickly and often. Don't be reckless, but bring a sense of urgency to testing. Customer-facing applications must keep pace with the breakneck evolution in the customer experience — and they should never bog down the fine-tuning of that experience. In today's rapidly shifting digital/mobile landscape, a daily check of your e-commerce site should be mandatory.
Investing in new technologies to better target and engage consumers is a sound strategy for retailers, but rushing to launch a new service or cutting corners in QA processes is a potentially costly mistake. Technology disasters erode customer loyalty, brand value and reputation, and for public companies, they can scare off investors.