Prepare to meet consumer demands in the age of unified commerce

Wednesday September 25, 2019 - Posted by:

Against the hugely varied and increasingly challenging backdrop of the retail industry in the 21st century, businesses can’t afford to miss any opportunities to engage with customers and deliver positive brand experiences.

With so much choice available to consumers and so many brands, service providers and content producers jostling for people’s attention, particularly online, success depends on being in tune with your audience and what they want.

Recent research has highlighted the extra revenue retailers around the world could be generating if they improve their ability to meet customer expectations.

‘£2.6 trillion in lost revenue’

Payments platform Adyen collaborated with 451 Research to produce a report exploring the concept of ‘unified commerce’, which is defined as “a strategy for creating a cohesive shopping journey across sales channels by maintaining a single view of the customer”.

“Consumers expect to be able to shop how, when and where they want while dictating the terms of engagement with a retailer,” the report authors write. “Unified commerce is about delivering on these expectations by creating convenient and contextual shopping experiences that place the consumer in control.”

After surveying nearly 6,000 adults from 12 countries around the world, 451 Research concluded that retailers missed out on £2.6 trillion in revenue in 2018. The study highlights the estimated revenue losses resulting from issues such as:

  • Out-of-stocks (£369 billion)
  • Long lines in-store (£284 billion)
  • Lack of preferred payment options in-store (£186 billion) and online (£212 billion)
  • Friction at online checkout (£257 billion)
  • False payment declines online (£197 billion)

On the more encouraging side, the research found that keeping consumers happy amounted to a total sales uplift of £618 billion for global retailers last year. Of course, achieving this requires you to have a strong understanding of what they want, which can be a challenge in today’s fast-moving consumer environment.

Escalating expectations

The fact that consumers have access to a wider range of shopping experiences, providers and opportunities than ever before – particularly online – means brands have to live up to constantly rising expectations.

More than eight out of ten companies (84 per cent) surveyed for the Adyen report said they had noticed a trend of connected customers asking more of retailers than at any time in the past.

The study identified three pillars around which audience expectations of brands are oriented:

  • Convenience – People want to be able to browse when, where and how they want, and complete purchases with speed and simplicity.
  • Context – Shopping experiences should be relevant and tailored to the circumstances of the individual customer.
  • Control – People want to “engage with retailers on their own terms”. That encompasses everything from communications via preferred channels (such as messaging apps and social networks) to a choice of payment methods.

All of these pillars are closely linked to the topic of personalisation, which carries huge value and importance for retailers today. The survey findings showed that personalised offers, product recommendations and targeted cross-selling can have a positive business impact of £382 billion for the industry as a whole.

Personalisation and localisation

Delivering a personalised experience can help you earn the loyalty of your customers and seize every opportunity for revenue generation.

Three out of five shoppers surveyed by 451 Research said they had made an extra purchase after receiving a personalised offer in the past six months, resulting in £241 billion in additional annual sales. More than half of respondents had increased their intended spend on at least one purchase because of cross-selling or being recommended a complementary product.

Other studies have underlined the importance of personalisation, and suggested that many brands have scope for improvement in this space, with basic methods (such as simply addressing a customer by their first name) unlikely to deliver any real results.

For your brand’s personalisation efforts to be a success, first you must ensure that your communication with customers is natural, relevant and engaging. This can be a challenge if you operate internationally and need to connect with audiences in different languages and dialects, which is why it’s important to invest in expert translation and localisation.

Localising your content for specific audiences helps to ensure you convey the most effective and appropriate messages to your customers, which lays the groundwork for positive, trusting relationships. It’s vital to have this foundation in place if you want to deliver the personalised experiences so many consumers are looking for today.

Furthermore, effective communication helps you start conversations and gain feedback that deepens your audience understanding, which in turn supports personalisation and improves your knowledge of what your customers really want.

With these key elements in place, you will be on your way to recouping some of the £2.6 trillion in revenue the retail industry is reportedly missing out on every year.

For more information on Locaria’s services and how they can help you meet challenges and seize opportunities in international retail, give us a call on +44 (0)20 3948 6800.

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