In the past, consumers would spend a great deal of time physically traveling around – to stores, malls, etc. Yet this has changed drastically in recent years. With the consumer appetite for technology growing rapidly and the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, consumers have been spending more time on their devices.
Retailers need to offer digital experiences that outshine the rest since the world is changing. The world is quickly shifting from the physical to the digital.
This has led to an increased amount of online-only shops and businesses, among others, where customers can browse products and make purchases with just a few clicks and taps of their devices. Online retailers, they need to do more than just be good at experience design.
This article will be all about digital experiences that you should implement now for your retail business. It will be an introduction to what digital experience is and why you should provide it for your audience. There will also be 4 digital experience applications for your retail business, to apply immediately.
What Is A Digital Experience?
A digital experience is a virtual engagement between a user and an organization that is only possible thanks to digital technologies. Whether the relationship with the customer is defined as B2B or B2C, the digital experience aims to give a quick, responsive, and seamless customer journey with the help of technology whenever it’s possible. It requires intelligent, relevant, personalized, and omnichannel communication.
The sales journey of a customer was never important for a business as much as it is now. Shopping is a completely different experience than it used to be 20 years ago. Consumer behaviors, demands, expectations, and motivations are evolving almost every day.
Having a good digital customer experience as a customer is a common expectation. There is also a business side to this fast-evolving sales journey. Retail businesses had to change their way of work very quickly, in the last few years. The ones who succeeded in creating ideal digital experiences are ahead of the others now. So for the ones left behind, there are lessons to take.
This post will be all about digital experiences that you should implement now for your retail business. It will be an introduction to understanding the concept of digital experience. And there will be 4 digital experience applications for your retail business, to apply immediately.
Before beginning to open up the subject, it’s important to keep in mind that idealized digital processes or the digitalization of workflows are not just results of the Corona Virus pandemic or any other single event. We are all accepting and aware that the pandemic changed retail businesses permanently.
The last 2 years made the transmission quicker than it would be. However, the world was going in this direction, anyway. In the early 90s, people were talking about going digital with different buzzwords. The key here is changing the way of business in the most efficient way possible. Today, retail businesses have to create digital experiences to respond to today’s circumstances.
Why Do You Need To Create Digital Experiences?
First, we need to talk briefly about digital experiences. Stay tuned and follow us on socials for a step-by-step digital experience file, by the way.
Digital experiences are in between a user and a company, and this user could be a customer as well as a partner, stakeholder, or employee. It’s because, to run a business as efficiently as it can be, there should be optimized digital experiences and workflows for every party involved.
In the post-pandemic era that we live in, most of the customers still prefer online shopping instead of physical stores because of the safety, easiness, and maybe just because it’s what they are used to anymore. It’s obvious that there are differences between generations, the gap in their digital behavior is getting bigger every day. Yet you should keep in mind that almost all generations are using online shopping now.
Last but not least, It’s crucial that you’re defining the concept of digital experience right. Just because a kind of technology or digital tool is used while doing something, it doesn’t magically make that thing a good digital experience.
Here is a brief list of what you can and should apply as soon as possible:
- Offer an exclusive online experience to your in-store customers.
- Divide your customers into the most efficient and useful groups for your business and apply these customer segmentations to your processes.
- Think of your increasing need to optimize your last-mile delivery to become a successful digital-fluent company.
- You should offer in-store promotions for e-commerce customers and vice versa.
1. Offer An Exclusive Online Experience To Your In-store Customers.
You might think we assume there won’t be any customers in stores, everybody will be online. Well, we don’t. That happened due to the pandemic one time, hopefully, it won’t happen ever again 🙂
According to Firstinsigt’s research, people tend to spend more in one visit in-store than on e-commerce. What we’re offering here is that in “normal” times too, you need to create a digital experience for everybody. And of course, it includes your in-store customers as well.
The phygital concept appears here, phygital is basically defined as a physical thing combined with a digital version of it. For a business, it means there are opportunities beyond e-commerce. Some brands are taking action to better use VR, IoT, and smart technologies in stores.
Just because some or all your customers are coming to your store, doesn’t mean that they have different habits and expectations from the rest of the world, they are most probably online shoppers too. 🙂 So you can still offer them an online experience with screens you placed in-store or QR codes to find physical products with their phones via your website or application.
The going phygital process is very confusing at the beginning but it can be much easier by using digital tools, software, and maybe other digital solutions. You can always contact tio for help.
2. Divide Your Customers To The Most Efficient and Useful Groups For Your Business and Apply Customer Segmentations To Your Process.
Your customers might have different interests, favorite products, tastes, etc. That means you cannot communicate all of them the same way. To offer a fulfilling digital experience and have more control over your relationship with your customers, it’s crucial to categorize them. Your need for segmentation might not be for communication, but for delivery or production.
You can create different segments via your customer’s demographic, geographic, psychographic, technographic, behavioral, need, or value-based information. It’s the easy part, no one would know your customers better than you.
The problem is if you don’t have the right digital tools and software to apply this, all of your efforts just make things more problematic. If you get these segments the right way, it will definitely create a competitive advantage for you. It’ll also provide you a deeper understanding of your customers, their demands and needs, their expectations, and more.
There are too many e-commerce & business management software alternatives out there, make sure you choose the most efficient tools to not create the extra need for labor and effort. The software you use should provide deeper insights about your customers and their choices, more than showing your sales and orders.
3. Think of your increasing need to optimize your delivery to become a successful digital-fluent company.
Today’s consumers expect the fastest delivery, as you would assume. 60% of customers want the same-day delivery option without spending an extra dime. But being fast is not enough to make a delivery perfect, there are other perks you can give your customers too. There may be some situations where a customer demands a specific day for their order or ask for late delivery.
When you think about 84% of buyers who have a bad delivery experience won’t buy from the same retailer again, it’s better to optimize your delivery depending on what your business and your customers need. Delivery timing is a challenging issue since some of the giant companies in e-commerce created almost unrealistic expectations, such as Amazon Prime. However, it’s also a great competitive opportunity.
There is no harm in using data science for your business to optimize logistic operations. It might also be really efficient for your business to analyze your delivery data. That’s why you should consider an e-commerce solution that enables you to organize your last mile delivery conditions, routes, and times.
By optimizing your delivery via digital tools and software you can lower your delivery costs and make it more productive than it is now. First, you can automate your order’s delivery hours as to what is the most suitable option for your production process. It’s important if your products need to be delivered in special conditions, like cold chain products or fragile, short-lived products.
Optimizing delivery days for some local orders, piling up deliveries on some specific days of the week, tracking couriers, and informing your customers about their order status are vital especially if you are running a last-mile delivery e-commerce business. With omnichannel sales software like our product 7işlem, you can create a customized delivery strategy according to your business’ and customers’ needs.
4. You should offer in-store promotions for e-commerce customers and vice versa.
It’s one of the critical steps of going phygital, too. Don’t forget that customers don’t see online shopping and in-store shopping as sales or marketing channels, what they only see is a brand.
To create a fulfilling experience both online and offline that can satisfy your customers, you need to integrate and combine all your channels. One of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this, using promotions and personalized offers.
Taking advantage of these four applications promotes a great user experience for both in-store and online customers, which is what your business aims to do. The combination of these applications creates a seamless transition and flow from online to store and back again without missing a beat. Your customers will appreciate that they can quickly grab their items and get out.