Jon Brooks, Head of Retail at Sabio Group UK explains how to navigate the digital frontier and how Black Friday success hinges on memorable online experiences.
In the swirling storm that is modern retail, with the high street being buffeted by economic, technological, and social changes, there emerges a beacon of opportunity for retailers: curating brilliant and memorable digital customer experiences.
As we edge closer to yet another Black Friday, the pivot to online is no longer just an option; it’s the cornerstone of retail survival and differentiation.
One might wonder, why the emphasis on the digital realm, especially when the tangible allure of brick-and-mortar stores has been the heart of shopping for centuries? Well, a glance at some hard numbers illustrates the dramatic transformation of the retail landscape…
According to a survey by Adobe Analytics, online sales during Black Friday continue to rise. In 2018, online sales accounted for $6.22 billion – a rise of 23.6% from the previous year.
Fast forward to last year, and sales hit a record $9.12 billion in 2022 – a 2.3% increase from the previous twelve months.
The digital realm isn’t the future; it’s the dynamic present.
Impeccable Digital Experiences Are Vital
For traditional high street retailers, the digital domain has often been a turbulent sea. The behemoths of e-commerce, with their vast product ranges, aggressive pricing, and rapid delivery promises have, in many cases, outmanoeuvred them.
Yet, amidst these Goliaths, the David-esque charm of outstanding digital customer experiences offers a compelling advantage.
Let’s dig deeper into why, especially on high-velocity shopping days like Black Friday, crafting an impeccable digital experience is not just desirable, but absolutely vital:
Engaging the Empowered Consumer
Today’s consumers are digitally savvy, well-informed, and, most crucially, empowered. They’re not just looking for products; they’re seeking experiences, stories, and connections.
According to a PwC report, 73% of consumers point out that experience is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions, underlining the role of emotional engagement in the buying process.
For retailers, this means their digital platforms need to resonate with consumer aspirations, values, and emotions.
The Fleeting Nature of Digital Loyalty
Online, consumers are a click away from a plethora of choices. The digital landscape can be ruthless; a single subpar interaction can not only result in an abandoned cart but can also drive a consumer to a competitor’s arms.
A study by Salesforce revealed that 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. In such a scenario, the emphasis should be on predictive personalisation, intuitive design, and real-time customer support.
Bridging the Digital-Physical Divide
Contrary to popular belief, the rise of digital doesn’t spell the end for physical stores. Instead, it’s an invitation for integration.
Click-and-collect services, virtual trial rooms, and augmented reality shopping experiences blur the lines, offering customers a seamless journey.
This synergy is paramount for high street retailers aiming to extend their brand experience from the physical to the digital.
The Way Forward Amidst Modern Struggles
The modern retail environment is rife with challenges – from managing the high overheads of physical storefronts to navigating the unpredictable waters of global events like pandemics.
However, amidst these challenges lies the undeniable promise of the digital realm. As we approach Black Friday once again this year, it’s clear that success won’t just be about discounts and deals. It will be about how effectively retailers can woo, engage, and retain customers in their digital domains.
So, as the dawn of another Black Friday approaches, it beckons retailers to not just participate but to lead with distinction in the digital sphere.
Touching on the words of Maya Angelou – the American memoirist, poet and civil rights activist – who said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Those retailers who internalise this and craft memorable digital encounters will be the ones who truly shine…For more information about Sabio - visit the Sabio Website
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