Digital Performance Solutions for Retail
Unlock the full power of digital business and improve customer experience.
In today’s digital economy, customer preferences and behaviors are dramatically different. And, as a result, every business must be a digital business in how they engage with, sell to, or service their customers. Consider that in a 2019 Riverbed global retail survey, 89% of customers said that a positive digital experience is just as important as prices.
In the past, customers used to call or visit businesses or stores to research products and services. Now, they prefer to learn online and make or receive purchases how, when and where it’s convenient for them. Customers used to want companies to know their preferences. Now, they expect companies to also anticipate their needs and offer personalized recommendations. Customers used to jump through hoops to receive discounts. Now, they value fast, reliable mobile coupon experiences that save them time and reward them for their loyalty.
In response to these changes, businesses are leveraging digital technologies to transform how they interact with their customers. In the retail industry, traditional business models have given way to “phygital” strategies that break down the barriers between physical and digital to deliver interconnected and dynamic customer experiences. For example, IKEA and Wayfair are using Augmented Reality technology to provide customers with the ability to virtually place furniture and home goods, at scale, in their homes. Likewise, many beauty and apparel retailers are now offering AR-powered magic-mirror experiences in their stores, or via mobile apps, to help customers visualize how products look on them before they buy, a feature that reduces merchandise returns.
Lowe’s Hardware Stores is tapping into the capabilities of location-based technologies to create an in-store experience that acknowledges the value of a customer’s time. The company has launched a mobile app that allows customers to not only manage a shopping list but also navigate a specific store’s layout so they can quickly and easily find the exact location of an item on a shelf.
And while digital technologies are creating completely new customer experiences, the boldest innovation efforts have focused on creating human experiences that solve bigger and deeper customer needs.
For example, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (NWTF), a Riverbed customer, uses modern, software-defined networking and application acceleration technologies to bring sustainable financing and developmental services to the marginalized urban and rural poor women of Central Philippines. Their IT transformation has enabled the non-profit to open branches in remote areas with limited connectivity and provide digital services that are on par with commercialized banks. With every branch that’s opened, NTWF is able to help more women move out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.
For businesses and retailers to move beyond transactional customer relationships and start providing meaningful human experiences, they need to be able to measure and manage the end-user experience to ensure digital services are operating at peak performance. Poor digital performance can lead to a devasting impact on some companies. Consider that 79 percent of customers who report dissatisfaction with website performance are less likely to buy from that same site again. And, according to a PwC study, 32 percent of customers will stop doing business with a brand they love after just one bad experience.
There’s no doubt that businesses – whether targeting consumers or other businesses – are entering a time of great transition in customer experience. By looking at digital technology through the lens of the customer and developing a strategy to enhance the end-to-end human experience, companies will set new standards for competitors and, ultimately, win the hearts of their customers.
Every business in every industry competes with Amazon. Why? Because Amazon sets the competitive bar on digital experience. Because of Amazon, customer expectations are extremely high and if the buying experience isn’t simple, immediate, and personalized, it’s considered to be intolerable. That’s the Amazon effect.
Amazon is disrupting the entire global marketplace – from media and entertainment to cloud computing services to household staples such as groceries. The company’s obsession with continuous innovation is why Amazon decided to move into the physical, brick-and-mortar world with Amazon Go, which is considered to be the world’s most advanced convenience store.
At Amazon Go locations there aren’t any cashiers, or cash registers, or even self-service checkout stands. Instead, through a combination of artificial intelligence, computer vision, sensors and image recognition technologies, Amazon delivers a “just walk out” shopping experience, which means customers never have to open their wallets or wait in lines.
When it comes to digital innovation, Amazon is one of the best. But remember, it’s not the technology that matters to customers. Rather, it is how technology is applied to create human-centered commerce and new customer experiences that will paradoxically be more digital and yet feel more human.