Adobe Digital Dialogue

2018 Digital Trends Report: Why APAC Retailers Are Evolving Their Technology Approach

For a ver­ti­cal that is typ­i­cal­ly con­sid­ered extreme­ly price sen­si­tive, dig­i­tal lead­ers in the retail indus­try have learnt that pre­mi­um cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is the true dif­fer­en­tia­tor in today’s tur­bu­lent envi­ron­ment. Adobe’s 2018 Dig­i­tal Retail Trends Report has dis­cov­ered ‘Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence’ as the great­est com­pet­i­tive advan­tage – and there­fore busi­ness focus – for indus­try dig­i­tal lead­ers in 2018.

Retail­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Asia Pacif­ic, are stand­ing in the mid­dle of a wave of change; antag­o­nism from inter­na­tion­al behe­moth brands, hun­dreds of dig­i­tal­ly born e-com­merce start-ups and dras­ti­cal­ly chang­ing con­sumer behav­iour. As this com­pe­ti­tion heats up and brands com­pete on cus­tomer expe­ri­ence alone, many retail­ers are tak­ing action for the future by mov­ing to a sin­gle tech­nol­o­gy plat­form to ensure expe­ri­ences are deliv­ered seam­less­ly at speed and scale.

Competing With Giants

Retail’s lega­cy brands that were built on tra­di­tion­al brick and mor­tar stores are clear exam­ples that a new approach must be tak­en to attract shop­pers today. This year alone, Australia’s strug­gling lega­cy depart­ment stores have been over­shad­owed by the rise of e-com­merce giants that are cast­ing a long shad­ow into APAC’s con­sumer mar­kets. In India, Ama­zo­nis jostling against domes­tic play­er Flip­kart for the biggest share of 300 mil­lion local con­sumers. Across the bor­der in Chi­na, dig­i­tal behe­moth Aliba­ba Group has expand­ed its online and offline reach into for­eign mar­kets, most recent­ly open­ing a pop-up store in Aus­tralia and reflect­ing the ‘phy­gi­tal’ trend towards dig­i­tal­ly-enhanced offline expe­ri­ences.

E-com­merce giants are now using bil­lion-dol­lar research and devel­op­ment bud­gets to push the lim­its with­in the retail indus­try, espe­cial­ly those play­ers based in APAC. WeChat alone has become a one-stop shop for con­sumers to con­nect with their favourite activ­i­ties and brands, and this sin­gle-plat­form ser­vice exten­sion approach is now being repli­cat­ed by retail­ers through­out the world.

But estab­lish­ing a sin­gle-plat­form ser­vice that ensures seam­less cus­tomer expe­ri­ences is near impos­si­ble for most retail­ers that have been stitch­ing togeth­er var­i­ous tech solu­tions over the past decade. The Mar­ket­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Land­scape Super­graph­ic (2018) shows that there has been a 27% year-on-year glob­al increase in mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy providers in 2018 alone – totalling a mas­sive 6,829 indi­vid­ual providers.  The aver­age enter­prise uses 91 mar­ket­ing cloud ser­vices alone, and the aver­age retail enter­prise uses 1,206 cloud ser­vices across all depart­ments – the high­est indi­vid­ual cloud use of any ver­ti­cal.

How can any retail­er focus on deliv­er­ing supe­ri­or cus­tomer expe­ri­ence when they’re try­ing to make 90 indi­vid­ual tools inte­grate and work togeth­er? The com­plex­i­ty of the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence tech­nol­o­gy land­scape is a prob­lem that retail­ers have faced, and are now bypass­ing, in oth­er regions around the world.

Across Europe and the Unit­ed States, retail­ers are dis­cov­er­ing the harsh effects that tech­nol­o­gy frag­men­ta­tion can have on deliv­er­ing pre­mi­um cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. Instead of inte­grat­ing lega­cy solu­tions with each tech­nol­o­gy the busi­ness adds, many are now mov­ing to a best-in-suite approach to ensure the speed and scale of their most impor­tant com­pet­i­tive advan­tage is kept seam­less.

With dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing bud­gets again on the increase year-on-year, APAC retail­ers now have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to leap frog the hard lessons learnt by our region­al coun­ter­parts, and pre­pare their busi­ness to deliv­er on the one met­ric that counts in the future.

Dis­cov­er the trends fac­ing retail lead­ers in 2018 and their approach to a tur­bu­lent envi­ron­ment in Adobe’s 2018 Dig­i­tal Retail Trends Report.  

Customer Experience, Digital Marketing

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