And now, because pretty much every consumer carries a smartphone or some kind of mobile device, all the advantages of digital commerce are available on the showroom floor.
This is why we’re seeing so much commentary these days about unified commerce — combining apps, APIs, UX design, the cloud, AI, and other technologies to produce a seamless shopping experience in the store, on mobile, and online.
The nuts and bolts of deploying unified commerce can be complex, but the overall principle is straightforward: Your technology should anticipate customers’ intentions so well that it would not occur to them to buy from a competitor.
So, what does it take to align technology with goals to become more customer-focused? Keep three points in mind.
Be where your customers are headed
Your buyers could be anywhere — on a plane, on the sofa, in an office, at the coffee shop, you name it. They could live just about anywhere on the planet, speak multiple languages, and spend with multiple currencies. They could be in a buying mood during commercial breaks on TV, or perhaps researching products in between posts to photo sharing sites, or recommending a recent purchase to their family on Facebook.
The key is to deploy technology that puts your product on people’s radar in all these platforms and locations. The cloud makes your brand available on any internet-connected device. Big data and artificial intelligence can help guide your purchasing managers and marketing analysts. SEO helps you get found when people search online.
All this emerges from one foundation: making sure your entire shopping experience embraces mobile consumers and delivers as rich of an engagement as if they were in your store in front of your best sales person.
Canadian Retailer Warehouse One Turns to OnX to Transform Its eCommerce Strategy
Leading eCommerce platforms such as Salesforce can help you gain a competitive advantage by speaking directly to your consumer one-on-one with specific, bespoke product recommendations based on previous online engagements . CRM technology helps marketers break buyers down into groups with similar interests who can be targeted with email and social media campaigns. Backend systems can handle spikes in the popularity of specific products while making sure rarely purchased long-tail items are still there for the people who want them.
Personalization capabilities can recommend products based on previous purchases and even predict what people are most likely to buy.
Be a step ahead
Important eCommerce technologies used to arrive every few years. Now it’s every few months as functionality evolves exponentially in real time.
That’s why retailers need eCommerce platforms that are scalable and agile enough to adapt as innovations arrive. They also need to be able to avoid getting stuck with expensive hardware and software that could be out of date in a year or two.
Hosting IT operations in the cloud is increasingly attractive to retailers that are tired of trying to stay competitive while buying, provisioning, and supporting costly data center technologies. Cloud providers can automate and integrate a wide swath of data-center operations that retailers traditionally handle in-house — and they usually can do it at a lower cost than retailers can themselves.
Of course, knowing all this is just the start. You also need a partner who can guide you through the process of using technology to create unified customer experiences.
Why we like Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s approach
At OnX, we’re using our experience in the cloud and eCommerce to help retailers figure out how to leverage technology to make their engaging shopping experience more user-focused in every setting — stores, online, and mobile. We’re also big believers in the potential of Salesforce Commerce Cloud to make it happen.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud starts by building a rich suite of tools to integrate transactions on every platform and tie them in with backend systems, artificial intelligence, and data hosted in the cloud. Finally, Salesforce Commerce Cloud uses an innovative revenue sharing model that aligns Salesforce with the motivations of its clients, creating win-wins for both sides.
Though traditional storefront retailers will never be able to go back to the old days before online competition, they finally have the tools they need to survive — and even thrive — in the future.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud could be the right platform to help your retail operations. Download our free eBook to find out more and learn how OnX can help.