The first quarter of 2016 is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to evaluate your eCommerce practices and make tweaks that help you spring forward. We recently sat down with Brian Beck, SVP of eCommerce & Omni-channel Strategy at Guidance to get his impressions from eTail West, where he was a keynote presenter who chaired the B2B track.
“One of the things I like most about this conference is that it comes early in the year,” Beck explained. “This allows merchants to pull in ideas that can be used throughout the year, and enough in advance of the holiday peak to make an impact in Q4.”
Below are his top takeaways and tips:
1. Create a more meaningful customer experience.
“Merchants have to move beyond focusing on transactions and focus instead on experience. By leveraging the power of a ‘purpose’ in marketing, they’re creating intimacy with their customers.
Think about the content that is going to connect you to your customers. What will be most meaningful and relevant to them based on the purchases they make from you? What is the core reason they’re shopping with you in the first place? As a first step, try brainstorming content you can deliver to them that will enhance the experiences they’ll have while using your product. It’s also worth thinking through how you’ll distribute and leverage this message via your social media channels.”
2. The fulfillment bar is higher than ever.
“In the current retail climate, expedited shipping and fulfillment (including same-day delivery and buy online/pick up in store) are all becoming minimum expectations for consumers. If that sounds daunting, the good news is that there are more and more technological tools available to help you get those programs in place. They’re also becoming more accessible to the mid-market from a pricing and platform integration standpoint.”
3. Digital payments are evolving quickly (especially on mobile).
“Payment methods are continuing to mature and become available across channels and devices, including mobile. The goal is to make shopping as seamless as possible for consumers. Fast equals good! Using mobile to pay in store, transferring mobile cart content to store POS and allowing easy gifting across channels are all trends retailers need to pay attention to and incorporate.
The world is shifting quickly here. Look for tools that will help you offer that functionality, including moving to a responsive website that integrates with your POS (or even becomes your POS). We spoke with both Magento and Demandware on how they’re delivering this as part their software, evolving beyond eCommerce platforms into true 'commerce’ platforms.”
4. Break apart your organization to succeed with Omni-channel.
“We heard from numerous panels and keynotes the importance of aligning your internal teams to succeed. Many retailers need to rethink how their eCommerce teams are goaled. To that end:
- Get out of the habit of rewarding your eComm people solely for driving sales and traffic online and introduce cross-channel metrics as goals instead.
- Consider realigning your digital marketing function and moving it into the overall marketing function.
- Evaluate where your buying function sits and make sure you’re presenting an assortment to customers across all channels that meets their expectations.”
Reaching today’s constantly connected consumers and standing out from the crowd is the #1 hurdle for retailers in 2016. If you and your team need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. Working with Guidance can help you face the challenge with confidence.