Dortmund | 13. December 2018
The Christmas season is here, and the checkouts are jingling. Consumers flock to city centre shops and sales figures are higher than at any other time of year. During the rest of the year, retailers complain of lulls and revenue losses, and there is talk of a looming “haemorrhaging” of city centres. As a partner to retailers, the IT service provider adesso has identified the digital trends for 2019. The goal: “This is how bricks-and-mortar retailers can remain future-proof and attractive in the long term.”
Multi-channel marketing is the key idea when it comes to changes in retail structures – an approach that can no longer be avoided. The current development is continuing to move towards omnichannel communication: in other words, seamlessly integrating all business processes, channels and systems on the front and back end using state-of-the-art technologies and digitalisation strategies. Throughout it all, the focus always has to be on customers and their needs.
adesso regards the following six digital trends as having the greatest potential for growth and increasing revenue in the retail sector in 2019, and recommends that retail companies prepare themselves accordingly.
Seamlessness: The customers of the future want a consistent shopping experience. When the various online and offline shopping options flow into one another seamlessly, customers have a positive experience on their “customer journey” to search for a product. This strengthens customer retention, since happy customers are loyal customers.
Attractiveness of the customer approach: The sales pitch is based on multimedia and customised product presentations: Incorporating digital signage systems and virtual or mixed reality with interactive, multimedia information and personalised offers in combination with smart mobile concepts supports the multichannel shopping experience. In particular, the young and tech-savvy – the customers of the future – regard this as a plus when shopping.
Coherent product information: Customers prefer coherent and personalised information on the product they are looking for – and the content and format of this information has to be consistent across all channels. In many cases, an uncontrolled proliferation of information and inconsistent data is still the norm. Automated product information management based on cutting-edge AI technology – natural language generation is the key concept here – can help to make customer information fit for the omnichannel age. In addition, the technology takes away some of the load in terms of content marketing – even, and especially, when creating multilingual product information for the global market.
Big data and data analytics: Intelligent data analysis plays a pivotal role in an age where customers expect a personal approach. Omnichannel marketing means providing the customer with perfectly tailored services and offers. Special artificial intelligence processes enable companies to learn more about their customers both online and offline, to segment them and to “meet” them right where they are.
Software-supported KPI analyses: Collecting, evaluating and visualising key figures is a foundational practice for extrapolating the success of measures and recommending courses of action. Retail companies can pursue and benefit from cross-regional and international marketing planning and management using tailored software. That is the only way to consistently optimise processes along the entire value chain. This makes it possible to respond to customer needs at short notice.
Till-free checkouts: The latest trend in bricks-and-mortar retail is scrapping cash and cards in favour of paying at the checkout by smartphone or through an instant customer identification system when the customer leaves the shop. Fast and convenient for the customer, who saves long waiting times at the cash registers.
As a Senior Business Development Manager, Marcus Groß looks after retail clients at adesso: “Connecting processes to create a successful omnichannel business is a challenge. Technical obstacles need to be overcome in this regard. On the other hand, however, employees have to be trained in how to handle this connected world of retail and introduced to new types of organisation. That is the only way to turn the shop premises, online presence and mobile service into a unified whole.”
For more information on adesso’s services for the retail industry, visit www.adesso.de/handel.