Personally, we at Markacy like to lead our growth strategy with financial analysis and then apply tactics where necessary. That’s because we’ve realized that these other parts simply can’t go unignored anymore.
For many retailers today, one of these parts is having a unified commerce platform, which has the ability to provide accurate and relevant information and offers to each customer.
One example of such a platform (which also happens to be the number one e-commerce platform and the one most of our clients use) is Shopify. So what do platforms like Shopify actually do for the companies that use them? It’s probably best to begin with an example.
The cost of staying local when you can (easily) go global
Say a store has two locations but their customers are global. This means that when the company’s customers leave their vicinity, so does their chance of a sale. After all, no one is going to fill out a form for credit card authorization and mail it back to them.
If your company doesn’t make purchasing easy, people won’t make the amount of purchase the company needs to thrive (or even survive). Especially when you stop to consider the sheer volume of competition and today’s rapidly dwindling attention span.
So what to do, then?
Platforms like Shopify let you put your products online, tying your brick-and-mortar store to your customer’s exact location and making the sales loop extremely easy to close.
A point-of-sale (POS) system like Shopify POS makes things even easier because you can manage all of your stories using a single “backend.”
This also takes the immense pressure off the shoulders of customers shopping at your location so you can focus on the customer experience rather than making the sale.
For example, a unified commerce platform can email customers their shopping carts after they test your product. This way, customers don’t forget about your product but their hand also won’t feel forced (which we all know doesn’t work anyway.)
Best of all, if you weren’t already selling globally (but your customers are or can be global) now you can.
With unified commerce platforms like Shopify, retailers around the globe can track orders, inventory and customer data, and even integrate shipping into their POS. With 73 percent of customers saying that they “want order tracking across all touchpoints” according to a report from BRP, this is really important.
The cost of not using analytics
Using analytics to accurately predict behavior so you can recommend the right product to the right customer (at the right time) is everything.
Many retailers now understand this. For them, 28 percent adopted unified commerce by 2018, according to a survey by Boston Retail Partners, with 81 percent planning to deploy it by the end of 2020.
These statistics suggest that unified commerce is no longer optional. Put a different way, acknowledging your customer’s experience is no longer optional but a necessary competitive advantage.
So just how much do consumer preferences really matter to consumers? According to a RedPoint Global survey conducted by The Harris Poll which surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, 63 percent of consumers said they expected personalized offers and interaction with the stores that they shop at, according to recent consumer surveys by BRP Consulting. Here’s what BRP Consulting also found out:
- 44% said personalization will get them to shop with the merchant again
- 56% said they wanted shopping cart continuity across channels
- 79% said personalized in-store experiences would bring them back to the store
- 63% said one bad customer experience might lead them to stop shopping with a merchant
The cost of missing out on explosive e-commerce sales growth
E-commerce sales grew 40.3% in 2020. In a global recession.
With new internet users growing steadily at 7.4% each year, brands should have a pretty easy time converting new customers online.
Today, online and offline investments aren’t mutually exclusive; on the other hand, 82 percent of consumers say they consult their phones before making a purchase.
In fact, the best opportunities for brick and mortar stores are a combination of the two, especially since the majority of Gen Z consumers prefer being able to both see the product and also have access to it online.
Brands like wildly successful eyeglass company Warby Parker, which started out online but pivoted toward brick-and-mortar after their customers began to complain that they couldn’t try on glasses online, used feedback to give their loyal customers what they needed.
By opening brick-and-mortar locations and using the existing success of their internet sales (something was working…) they were able to pivot and also do the right thing.
After all, roughly 60% of shopping experiences do not begin and end on the same devices, says marketing research platform Think With Google.
“After you have a lay of the land, identify the gaps. Let’s say you want to commemorate customers’ anniversaries. Add a field in the customer profile for their first purchase date. You can then set up notifications to remind you of the event and create automations to personalize the milestone—for example, a triggered email including a personalized discount code, writes Shopify in their retail blog.
“Or maybe you want to celebrate customers’ birthdays with customized discounts, gifts, or points. Add a birthday field in your customer profiles so that when a customer makes a purchase at your point-of-sale on their birthday, your checkout staff can offer them a gift or a reward,” the blog post goes on to say.
Customers want to own their experiences, and with all of the options they have today, you can’t miss this aspect of it and also expect sales success.
In hindsight, many companies that went bankrupt over the last year have acknowledged their own lack of digital investments. Their biggest error was perhaps viewing product design in a vacuum without ever performing quantitative marketing metrics or market scans.
But what’s perhaps most bewildering is that considering the ease with which this is done today, how many still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.