Adobe Digital Dialogue

March 8, 2017 /Digital Marketing /

Digital maturity in the retail sector

The retail sec­tor has always been high­ly com­pet­i­tive but now evolv­ing con­sumer demands and dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion are putting retail­ers under relent­less pres­sure to stay one step ahead. With dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in a con­stant state of flux, and con­sid­er­ing the four foun­da­tion­al areas for dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty , what is the direct impact on the retail indus­try?

There are vast dif­fer­ences between retail­ers that were born dig­i­tal and those that start­ed out as bricks-and-mor­tar stores then added dig­i­tal as a go-to-mar­ket chan­nel. These bricks-and-mor­tar brands are expe­ri­enc­ing three main obsta­cles to dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty: small­er dig­i­tal teams; inad­e­quate bud­gets ded­i­cat­ed for dig­i­tal devel­op­ment; and poor­ly defined dig­i­tal strate­gies and process­es.

High­light­ing this gap, mar­ket research firm For­rester released “The Best and Worst of Aus­tralian Retail Web­site Expe­ri­ences” in 2015 in which it report­ed key bricks-and-mor­tar retail­ers such as Coles, Wool­worths, Myer and David Jones all failed Forrester’s user expe­ri­ence test – while most born-dig­i­tal retail­ers would prob­a­bly pass with fly­ing colours.

Bricks-and-mor­tar stores have the addi­tion­al chal­lenge of bridg­ing the dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal divide, as dig­i­tal enhances the phys­i­cal store in the form of dig­i­tal screens, BLE light fix­tures and con­tact­less pay­ment facil­i­ties, to name a few.

Econsultancy’s 2016 report “Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion in the Retail Sec­tor”, reveals that opti­mis­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is the most excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for retail­ers. The report analy­ses the per­cent­age of com­pa­nies by sec­tor that have adopt­ed a holis­tic approach to test­ing and opti­mi­sa­tion, allow­ing mul­ti­ple depart­ments input into the process. The leader was the B2B high-tech sec­tor at 44%, fol­lowed by retail and com­merce at 35%. The take­away here is that the B2C sec­tor typ­i­cal­ly leads in ear­ly tech­nol­o­gy adop­tion and there­fore matu­ri­ty. In this case, retail has some­thing to learn from B2B hi-tech in both adop­tion and test­ing.

Turn­ing to each of the four key pil­lars for dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty, here are the chal­lenges retail­ers face in achiev­ing dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty:

Data-dri­ven mar­ket­ing
• Cen­tralise your data to accel­er­ate insights and for ease of acces­si­bil­i­ty.
• Inte­grate exter­nal and offline data to enhance your audi­ence seg­ments.

Big bricks-and-mor­tar retail­ers have can strug­gle to cen­tralise their data, most­ly due to the dis­parate sys­tems used to run their oper­a­tions, includ­ing point-of-sale, trans­ac­tion­al, CRM, sup­ply chain, ful­fil­ment and call cen­tre.

Adobe is increas­ing out-of-the-box inte­gra­tions to a broad range of tech­nol­o­gy ven­dors to alle­vi­ate the pain of pulling data to devel­op action­able insights. Cen­tral­is­ing data great­ly accel­er­ates a company’s abil­i­ty to build and per­son­alise rich­er audi­ence seg­ments. It also enables access­ing part­ner data and buy­ing exter­nal data to enrich seg­ments.

Cus­tomer expe­ri­ence
• Devel­op con­tent with the customer’s needs in mind.
• Work to devel­op a rich cus­tomer pro­file.

Retail is a lead­ing indus­try cat­e­go­ry for test­ing, but it has a long way to go in devel­op­ing teams and process­es to deliv­er more con­tent at scale. Devel­op­ing a rich cus­tomer pro­file goes hand-in-hand with enrich­ing audi­ence seg­ments and should be a strate­gic pri­or­i­ty with a clear­ly out­lined, long-term plan.

• Make mobile a pri­or­i­ty by invest­ing in mobile chan­nels and appli­ca­tions.
• Cre­ate ded­i­cat­ed mobile sites and apps.

Tra­di­tion­al retail­ers have large­ly ignored mobile in favour of devel­op­ing a web pres­ence – and have gen­er­al­ly done a poor job of it. As smart­phones are the pri­ma­ry devices for 92% of con­sumers, retail­ers need to invest in mobile chan­nels and appli­ca­tions to ensure their sites and apps are devel­oped from the ground up with a mobile-first mind­set.

Cross-chan­nel mar­ket­ing
• Inte­grate your sys­tems and chan­nels to share data as well as con­tent and assets.
• Invest in tools to under­stand your customer’s jour­ney.

Tra­di­tion­al retail­ers com­mon­ly run a cam­paign in one chan­nel and some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent in anoth­er, large­ly due to their dis­parate sys­tems – dis­con­nect­ed teams are deliv­er­ing a frag­ment­ed cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. By invest­ing in tools to under­stand cus­tomer data and the cus­tomer jour­ney across both dig­i­tal chan­nels and bricks-and-mor­tar stores, retail­ers can deploy cross-chan­nel con­tent and assets that deliv­er a con­sis­tent cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.

Cus­tomers like clear and sim­ple tasks. Retail­ers need to enable a seam­less cus­tomer expe­ri­ence so con­sumers can make the cor­rect pur­chase for their needs. I invite you to down­load the 2016 Adobe report, Four essen­tial ele­ments for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing matu­ri­ty and read the results in more detail.

Please join me this con­ver­sa­tion and share your per­spec­tive: @rigbyscott

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  • By Milan Michael - 3:17 PM on March 9, 2017   Reply

    It’s amaz­ing..! We are going for the bet­ter future. Thank you for shar­ing.

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