By Adam Forrest, Director of Product Marketing
In today’s post, we explore the increasing number of brick-and-mortar locations that are offering same-day delivery options for their customers, why big data is only as good as the actionable insights it presents and why quick payment options can drive additional purchases via mobile devices.
Here are some of the top items I read to help inspire new thoughts for you this week.
Summary: Launching this fall, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are going to test same-day delivery for items purchased on their websites with Deliv. There are more than 50 stores included in the pilot program, which will serve as fulfillment centers. One element not yet announced is pricing for this feature, which Macy’s states will be “very market competitive.”
My thoughts: Leveraging physical store locations to drive same-day fulfillment is the ultimate advantage that brick-and-mortar retailers have against Amazon when it comes to getting products to customers faster. This is something we’ve talked about in some of our past Top 5 posts; offering same-day delivery from various store locations is certainly a growing trend as retailers look to create a unified commerce experience. And in my opinion, I think we’ll see optimizing inventory allocation and distribution as a major investment area for brick-and-mortar stores in 2015, which, in turn, will elevate the importance of distributed order management capabilities as part of a central commerce platform.
Summary: The digital transformation of the consumer shopping experience has created an evolution in the marketing world. Marketing teams should no longer focus on specific channels to reach consumers; it’s now about understanding the experience at its core, and learning how to engage with customers in a seamless manner across all touchpoints. This is an omni-channel experience, and it’s all about 1:1 experiences across the myriad devices and channels consumers use.
My thoughts: Consumers can use their smartphones throughout every part of their shopping journey, allowing them to have a seamless shopping experience. And with the recent announcement around Apple’s new products and the new functionalities with iOS8, it’s becoming more important than ever for retailers to focus and invest in mobile to truly take advantage of the new customer engagement opportunities. And leveraging the cloud is one way retailers will be able to do this. Just look at Apple’s iCloud; it’s a great example of how powerful the cloud can be – consumers can pick up right where they left off as they move from device to device. There are huge benefits for retailers that use the cloud as a way to transfer information to and from consumers.
Summary: Holiday prep focuses on customer needs and expectations, so there’s little surprise that retailer holiday priority lists are long. And this year, priorities are increasingly looking at omni-channel retailing. Retailers need to take into account the digital touch points, as well as the physical store locations, to ensure the customer experience is seamless.
My thoughts: I wholeheartedly agree. Retailers often begin holiday prep in the early Summer months (June/July), so many use the back to school shopping season as a test-run, of sorts, to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a good way to learn how retailers’ omni-channel commerce experience is received, as well. Our Merchandising Director Sue Chapman has been offering some key pieces of “Get Holiday Ready” advice over the last few weeks, and she highlights 4 areas for retailers to consider when it comes to preparing their mobile and omni-channel holiday strategy:
- Bringing digital to the showroom floor
- Making your coupons flexible
- Exploring mobile offers, like exclusive mobile deals, mobile flash sales and contests leveraging text messages
- Opportunities around enabling a buy online and pick up in-store functionality
Summary: Amazon rolled out its “Login and Pay with Amazon” service in Europe. This capability will allow consumers to check out with the
stored credit card and shipping information they have with Amazon, cutting down the time it takes to complete the purchase. Login and Pay has been available in the U.S. since this time last year.
My thoughts: For anyone with the Amazon app, you’re probably well aware of how easy it is to quickly make a purchase on whatever device you may be using. Removing the need to manually enter a credit card number each time a consumer wants to make a purchase significantly enhances the user experience, and because it’s so easy, more customers will make more purchases. In fact, moving this login and pay capability to the front of the check-out process, along with PayPal and other quick payment options, has great potential to increase conversion rates on mobile devices. One area for retailers to keep in mind, however, is security. By storing sensitive information like credit card numbers and personal profiles, consumers will need to trust the retailer and feel confident that their information will remain secure.
Summary: Accenture Digital recently conducted a study of organizations to determine how many have actually launched Big Data initiatives, and how executives felt about those projects. The company found that 92% of executives were satisfied with results from their big data projects, 89% considered big data to be “very important” or “extremely important” to their businesses’ digital transformation, and 82% said big data provides a significant source of value to their companies.
My thoughts: Every business is investing in big data analysts and scientists to help them better understand their customers and their market, and to ultimately be able to deliver a better experience. But the key to success of any big data project is dependent on the additional resources you hire, as well as the focus on the outcome of the big data obtained. Organizations have primarily looked at big data projects as a means to figure out what’s going on; the insights gleaned from the resources spent looking into it haven’t translated the information into actionable guidance. This is the next step for big data projects; retailers, in particular, need to hire a merchandiser, customer loyalty expert or someone else from the business side to ensure the information can be put to use to make real and efficient changes to see the business benefit. Though this article illustrates that we’re making inroads here, I still think we have a long way to go.