In today’s digital era, consumers are no longer satisfied with the traditional shopping experience. Instead, many prefer to search for and purchase goods through a variety of channels, including in physical stores, online, and through mobile apps. While retailers’ ultimate goal of selling products still remains intact, they should also focus on delivering enhanced shopping experiences across all touchpoints to accommodate consumer demands and ensure brand loyalty.
To provide a seamless omnichannel experience, leading retailers are implementing technology to deliver unique recommendations, leveraging data to provide services across all channels, and developing global inventory pools for real-time access to items anywhere, at any time.
Deliver unique product recommendations
In today’s highly competitive landscape, it’s crucial that retailers implement innovative solutions to attract and retain consumers across all channels. According to SAP’s Digital Readiness Survey, 75 percent of retailers believe it is important to deliver a valuable, relevant, and personalized experience specific to the consumer. Further, more than 60 percent of retailers believe it’s important to develop context-relevant, personalized recommendations based on consumer sentiment and history. Thus, it’s imperative that retailers invest in platforms to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of every consumer’s individual shopping preferences to curate product suggestions — no matter where they’re shopping.
Companies such as ULTA Beauty understand the need to have a holistic viewpoint into consumer data in order to make recommendations. ULTA Beauty carries more than 20,000 products, all of which have different ingredients, features, and benefits. Given the surplus of offerings, consumers are often overwhelmed in determining which item to purchase. To enhance the overall process, store associates have access to ULTA Beauty’s Clientelling app, which uses advanced SAP technology to collect and store previous purchase information, allowing associates to execute cosmetic consultations and provide personalized recommendations.
Leverage data to provide services across all channels
Due to the convenience of technology, consumers now have access to an unlimited number and types of products. If they don’t like what a retailer is selling at any given time, they can easily look elsewhere and purchase an item from another company. To ensure ongoing sales and consumer satisfaction, retailers must be in tune with shopper needs and current trends. One of the most effective methods to do so: collect real-time, accurate data and analytics to blend online and in-store experiences.
ALDO is one retailer that has embraced the need for a digital core and invested in solutions to compile data such as previous purchasing behavior, shopping history, and consumer sentiment from social media. Using advanced IoT technology, ALDO developed an interactive omnichannel platform for customers to create product wish lists, view high-resolution product images and descriptions, share products on social media, and purchase items directly through the app. Using their digital core technology, ALDO executives can now track this information, identify trends and appropriately stock each store — as well as online catalogs — with specific items, depending on varying factors such as consumer preferences, local demographic, and time of year.
Integrate business models for consistent shopping experiences
To be successful in the rapidly evolving retail industry, it’s important that retailers create seamless shopping experiences across all sales channels. Whether shopping in-store, online, or on a mobile app, consumers expect top-line service and access to any item, in near-real time. According to recent research, 65 percent of retailers believe it’s important to optimize the global inventory pool via a “source anywhere, fulfill anywhere” model. To effectively manage products throughout a variety of locations, retailers need real-time visibility into their global inventories. Thus, to minimize costs and improve consumer satisfaction, retailers should pool, reserve, and use inventory from the best location to fulfill omnichannel consumer demand.
Companies such as Brooks Brothers, The Rockport Group, and Benetton are turning to innovative technology to accurately manage inventory across all warehouse and store locations around the globe. These technologies provide unique in-memory computing capabilities that help the organizations base their plans on real-time consumer insights. The technology automatically analyzes large volumes of data to provide a comprehensive overview of products, including those that have sold, as well as those left in stock.
Embracing innovation to meet consumer expectations
As the industry continues to undergo this period of unprecedented digital transformation, successful retailers will be those that adjust their business strategies to keep up with the evolving consumer demands. Retailers can no longer rely on their outdated processes, but instead need to consistently look for and implement new solutions to connect with consumers. To win in 2018, retailers should leverage innovative technology to efficiently deliver premium, seamless omnichannel shopping experiences across all sales channels.
In her role as Co-President, SAP Industries, Lori Mitchell-Keller leads the sales and partner Go-To-Market strategy and execution in pursuit of accelerated industry revenue growth and in generating enterprise customers for life. In so doing, Mitchell-Keller ensures SAP Industries provide the leadership to enable new business models, create next generation processes, and valorize innovative technologies in the hands of SAP customers while delighting their end consumer.