Technology has evolved significantly to the point that it is now fully integrated into every aspect of our day-to-day lives.
NB This is a viewpoint by Mikael Gummerus, CEO for Frosmo.
As the lines between shopping online, by phone or in person become increasingly blurred in the customers’ minds, it follows that "omnichannel" has become the biggest buzzword when it comes to retail operating models.
And the good news for businesses is that the systems to help them integrate their platforms are now better value, more efficient and easier to use.
With so much data to sift through, the fact that these software solutions are increasingly accessible will allow companies to deepen their understanding of the consumer journey. And, in doing so, they’ll be better equipped to identify customer groups, deliver more personalised services, increase engagement and – ultimately – influence conversion rates.
Armed with this knowledge, online retailers will be in a position to deliver a more differentiated experience and stand out against their competitors.
Control over content
Another area where we can expect to see significant changes over the coming years concerns content. Or, more specifically, content control.
Last autumn we worked with WBR Digital to survey 100 European retail executives and find out how ecommerce, IT and marketing departments were working together to better serve online shoppers.
One unexpected find was that over a fifth (21 percent) were still using their IT department to change their website content, despite IT being overbooked and having other areas of focus.
This was perhaps more understandable years ago when being able to refresh web content via the mystical "back-end" was considered a dark art that only a select few could navigate. However, there are now a range of tools that bypass the complex approach of yesteryear, speeding up the process significantly and empowering the best-placed team members to respond more quickly to customer insights.
This means that, regardless of whether customers are accessing a retailer on their mobile, laptop, desktop or via an app, companies can develop features straight to the browser ten times faster and much more cost-efficiently than before.
It’s worth pointing out too that this is a model being heavily championed by technology leaders such as Google.
Technology with a virtual impact
Given how quickly the way we shop is changing, it’s little surprise that our expectations around enjoying more personalised retail experiences are also rising. And nowhere is this more relevant than with digital natives who have grown up in the era of digital technology.
As such, the potential for ecommerce to capitalise on this momentum with virtual reality (VR) is likely to become an increasingly viable possibility over the coming year. VR hardware to support these new trade avenues is starting to become commercially available and not only is it high quality but, importantly, it’s affordable too.
We’ve already seen a number of companies test the waters, from IKEA’s foray into augmented reality by letting customers ‘see’ new furniture to scale in their room to fashion retailers helping people find the perfect fit before they buy.
However, I believe this technology has great scope to add a whole new dimension to travel and retail. And with high street giants such as TUI using interactive tools to inspire prospective clients across its digital concept stores, the time when a website are not considered immersive enough to sway prospective holidaymakers isn’t far away.
NB1 This is a viewpoint by Mikeal Gummerus, CEO of Frosmo. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2 Frosmo and its team of ecommerce experts will be exhibiting at Travel Technology Europe, which takes place on 24 and 25 February 2016 at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London. To find out more and to register please visit: www.traveltechnologyeurope.com.
NB3Image by Shutterstock.