Perrine Masset, Digital Agency Services Senior Manager at LiveArea, the in-house PFS Agency, considers the retail challenge of 2017
TODAY’S DYNAMIC DIGITAL consumers expect their experience to automatically adapt to their daily lives whenever they engage with a brand, whether that engagement is physical, digital or emotional. The constant mobile device usage is already an ingrained behaviour and customers are showing a growing appetite for artificial intelligence and enhanced/virtual reality. As well as being technology-savvy and demanding more control over their data collection, customers are also looking for a hyper-personalised experience that connects them emotionally with the brand.
Retailers need to respond to their customers’ ever-changing expectations by rethinking the way they do business online and across other sales channels, forcing them to fill the technology gap. The most influential retailers are those who lead the way in creating more engaged customer experiences. Moving from the ‘traditional’ experience of ecommerce – from product page to basket page – these leading retailers are intensively trying to understand their customers’ journeys and are adapting to their needs by building disruptive and sticky experiences.
Finding the perfect balance between personalisation, automation, contextualisation and innovation will be today’s challenge for retailers. ‘Headless’ commerce builds meaningful and relevant shopping experiences embedded into the overall digital journey. It allows, for instance, customers to buy from a banner while browsing online and this might be the way to respond to ever-evolving customer expectations.
It also underlines the need for investment made with an eye on long-term, rather than short-term profit. The brands that have taken the lead in this digitally-enabled commerce space are reinventing themselves every two to three years. Adopting an agile test-and-learn methodology allows them to quickly respond to their customers’ ever-changing behaviour and to maintain their advantageous business position.
Opportunities are currently great for retailers – but you have to play to win. Investing in innovation and thinking creatively about the customer journey will be the key for long-term success. Today’s consumers expect flawless experiences and will only be more demanding in the future. ‘Headless’ commerce puts the product in the context of real life and encourages brands to connect with customers on a more personal level. Retailers who can quickly adopt these concepts will benefit from stronger engagements from their customers, building brand advocates and improving profitability in the long term.
As a leading global ecommerce solutions provider, PFSweb enables brand and specialty retailers achieve their ecommerce goals. We combine consulting, agency, technology, and operations to deliver unique, branded customer experiences, creating Commerce Without Compromise. Find out more at pfs.com.