Today's customers are engaging with brands in more ways than ever before. And they want every in-store, online, and mobile interaction to be easy, relevant, and consistent. A quality product and a fair price are vital to business success, but customers demand more. They want proactive service, personalized interactions, and connected experiences.
Over the past ten years, we’ve seen consumer brands address this demand through ad personalization, ad retargeting, and abandoned cart emails.
These solutions have helped customers shop more efficiently, but as brands continue to scale these tactics, engagement isn’t increasing. Statista reports that, as of 2019, 26.4% of people block digital ads, and that number is only projected to rise. And while email unsubscribe rates have fallen, engagement isn’t increasing as the average consumer now receives 117.7 emails per day (up 6% from last year).
As consumers grow tired of incessant ads and emails while being wary of privacy violations, retailers must find new ways to engage customers. Luckily, shoppers still want to consume content. In fact, they want it on demand. But they also want to be in control of their journeys—not be inundated with outbound communications.
Using data integration to create a unified experience and an SSOT
In 2019, 70% of customers said connected experiences are very important to winning their business. However, less than 10% of businesses have a 360-degree view of the customer but believe it’s necessary for future growth.
To provide customers with the content and experiences they seek, retailers will have to look past marketing automation platforms, account-based marketing (ABM) tools, and demand-side platforms (DSPs). They’ll need to construct their own end-to-end commerce platforms for streamlining the retail experience and engaging users on demand.
For that to happen, organizations need to be able to pull the correct information for the right person at the right time, and data integration software is key to achieving this. It enables IT and business leaders to integrate and access data from disparate sources, create a 360 view of their customers, and then deliver unified experiences to them across all sales channels.
When businesses have a unified view of their customers’ purchase history and location data, they have a more effective way to target specific customers with new product releases and promotional events, giving them greater sales opportunities.
Creating a 360-degree customer view also enables an organization to create a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) about their audiences. With an SSOT and a 360-degree view, companies can then build customer retention and advocates for their brand.
Centralizing data and improving engagements
Brands that want to thrive in the age of unified commerce must integrate and innovate their retail and online systems fast—or risk falling behind. And while martech budgets have existed for several years, they’ve focused mostly on SaaS with IT lightly supporting integration and implementation.
To survive in retail today, marketing and IT must come together to drive business strategy and design application networks that support seamless customer experiences, more personalized promotions, and new ways of shopping.
It may not sound simple, but luckily our marketing automation, commerce, CRM, and data integration experts have been knocking down silos to help retailers jump-start their transformation journeys. Often data is disconnected and stored in different systems or possibly in different formats. It can be managed by different technologies that speak different languages.
Our experts have set out to identify the most pervasive retail challenges. From enhancing in-store experiences to integrating shopping interfaces, our team has examined the end-to-end commerce tech stack and from this research, Seamless Commerce was born.
Fueled by MuleSoft’s reusable APIs, Appirio’s Seamless Commerce is a framework that connects data from Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Sales Cloud, in-store sales, and IoT devices to create a 360 view of your customers. This flexible solution focuses on centralizing data, so consumers—and brands—have seamless experiences on every device, app, and channel.
Let’s explore how Seamless Commerce is helping businesses with both a retail and online presence innovate faster, no matter where they are in their transformation journey.
Streamlining today’s standard shopping experiences
Before any brand can begin crafting new customer experiences, they need to be at today’s status quo, which includes connected mobile, desktop, and in-store shopping, as well as customer service. No matter where shoppers are buying, returning, or seeking logistical information, they expect it to be easy and consistent.
For modern retailers, this should be a simple cost of doing business. And Seamless Commerce helps brands reach the status quo by integrating their marketing, commerce, sales, and service systems to create a consistent UX across all customer touchpoints.
Innovating new ways to shop
The best part about retail innovation is that you get to create completely new ways of engaging customers. With AI, IoT, and APIs, the possibilities are almost endless. And while a blank slate can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming ... where to start? How to home in on the right ideas? With Seamless Commerce, brands have a launch pad for innovation:
Magic Mirror: This connected device allows customers to access their shopping history, search for a certain size or color, and make a purchase. Magic Mirror lets customers engage how they want:
- Don’t want to sift through racks to find what you’re looking for? No problem; do a quick search on Magic Mirror to see if it’s in stock.
- Want to see if that cute sweater you had in your online cart is in the store? Log in and check.
- Want to check out without waiting in line? Magic Mirror has you covered. If you already have an account, you can even quick pay with saved credit card info.
Digital Sales Assistant: With Seamless Commerce, in-store sales associates are armed with the right data to provide better customer experiences. When shoppers request additional sizes to their dressing rooms, Digital Sales Assistance identifies a free sales associate and helps locate the correct item to get it to the customer ASAP. And when customers have questions about online promotions or online items, sales associates can quickly see information relevant to the customer, apply discounts, and place orders to be delivered to the customer’s address.
With Seamless Commerce, retailers don’t need to innovate from scratch. Leveraging assets from integration frameworks to application accelerators, retailers can provide new ways for consumers to shop and engage faster.
Providing better content when and where customers want to engage
Although customers are blocking ads, they don’t dislike promotions. Sixty percent of consumers still report that they like receiving digital coupons, and many consumers still turn to their favorite brands for advice.
As we see buyer behavior shift with new devices, retailers need to be ready to serve content and promotions in new and easy-to-engage ways. Check out how Seamless Commerce is helping brands get started:
Dynamic window displays: Using mobile-device geo-tracking, this solution serves customized content on shop window displays to provide better experiences to shoppers passing by physical storefronts. This solution mimics dynamic content on websites and mobile apps to create a unified experience no matter where a consumer interacts with a brand.
SMS messages: Marketers can set up geofences around brick-and-mortar stores to create custom SMS campaigns. Seamless Commerce can send coupon code reminders as well as cart abandonment reminders, and even let a buyer know if the store has a product they’ve expressed interest in. All this contributes to delivering a frictionless shopping experience.
As buyer behaviors continue to evolve, as privacy concerns increase, and as IoT and AI become more pervasive, the retail industry will likely feel the brunt of these changes first. With so many disparate customer touchpoints, retailers have a great opportunity to win shoppers with innovative buying methods and promotions. But they also face great challenges with large tech stacks and a high need for integration.
Seamless Commerce helps retailers tackle these challenges with proven frameworks and jump-starts. At Appirio, we believe every business has unique needs. But we also believe many business processes have fundamental similarities. This combination of strategy and reusable technical assets has helped keep our customers at the forefront of CRM and marketing automation. And with Seamless Commerce, our retail partners are now leading the charge in defining the next phase of customer experience.
Want to learn more about how Seamless Commerce and MuleSoft are accelerating retail transformation? Contact us for more information.
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