Using tech to boost your customer experience
When you’re working in the retail sector, it can seem that technology has pushed the balance of power in favour of the consumer. Thanks to the internet, consumers can compare products and prices at the click of a button, meaning competition between retailers has never been so fierce.
However, when used to its full potential, tech solutions can also make the difference between a retailer that is lost in the crowd and one that stands out from its competitors. So how can you ensure that you have the tech you need to gain a competitive advantage?
In our webinar in partnership with Internet Retailing, we’re taking a look at some of the key trends in retail, and how you could optimise your IT infrastructure to stay ahead of your competitors…
Keep it simple
Anyone working within the retail industry will know that online shopping has been growing in popularity for some time now, but it’s important to understand why customers are choosing to go online rather than hit the high street.
A recent survey by PwC revealed that 48% of UK customers choose to buy online because it’s more convenient than buying from a store, compared to 33% who said that they choose to shop online because it’s cheaper. With so much choice available to consumers, savvy retailers need to make the customer journey as simple as possible if they want to avoid losing potential customers to an overly complicated purchasing process.
We’re already seeing the introduction of features like one-tap purchases, subscription auto-renewal and same-day delivery to make it easy for customers to buy (and keep buying). However, with many retail budgets falling, investing in improving customer experience needs to come at a cost that’s commercially viable. That’s where solutions like a flexible, ‘pay as you go’ cloud service can make a real difference – when you can scale your storage solution up or down to suit your needs throughout your contract, you only pay for the capacity you use.
Blue Chip’s top tip: look for a cloud storage provider that offers a ‘pay as you go’ contracting model!
Take it personally
While consumers want shopping for necessities to be less of a chore, when it comes to shopping for the things they want, they’re increasingly looking for more of an experience.
Brands can use technology to provide this – from augmented reality (AR) to virtual reality (VR), the ways that consumers can interact with a product before they make a purchase are multiplying. Ikea, for example, use augmented reality in their Ikea Place app to give users a preview of how Ikea products would look in their space.
Consumers are also looking for a more personalised buying experience, which artificial intelligence (AI) should help retailers to achieve more easily. Many retailers are already collecting big data on consumers from range of online and offline sources, which should enable them to take a personal approach to their customers, but only when they use the data to its full advantage. AI solutions can process all of this data and provide brands with useful insights, so retailers can accurately anticipate consumers needs.
If you’re looking to benefit from AI and AR, however, you need to ensure that your infrastructure is optimised to handle the increase in workload that they bring.
Blue Chip’s top tip: Modern workloads will need advanced accelerators like GPUs and FGPAs – make sure your infrastructure can support the increased demands of AI.
Join the conversation
With social media becoming an increasing part of many of our lives, consumers are increasingly expecting real-time interactions with brands. Research has revealed that 64% of consumers expect businesses to respond to them in real time – in fact, 15 percent expect an immediate reply.
We’re on the verge of faster connectivity – many UK mobile networks already include elements of 5G network architecture, and 5G will be widely available in 2020. This should allow brands and consumers to interact wherever they are, and on a real-time basis. Brands will need to be constantly available to answer consumer queries and guide them through the buying process.
If your business is going to be as responsive as your customers expect it to be, you can’t afford to wait for data. Flash storage, which can typically deliver up to 10x the performance of hard disk drives, can accelerate your applications and provide you with real time data at your fingertips.
Blue Chip’s top tip: Many businesses benefit from a mix of storage solutions – if you can incorporate flash into your business, you could see a real boost in your responsiveness.
If you’re providing a straightforward, personalised customer experience and truly engaging with consumers, you’re likely to see consumer demand rise. AI can also help you when it comes to managing peak demand periods, as it’s no longer enough to simply prepare for well-known peaks like Black Friday and Boxing Day. AI solutions can take data from a range of sources and provide you with accurate traffic predictions, so you can scale your capacity in advance.
Blue Chip’s top tip: Find out how to optimise your customer experience during peak trading periods - click here to watch our webinar in partnership with Internet Retailing.