Technology: The Catalyst for Retailers' Success
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Technology: The Catalyst for Retailers' Success

By Ryan Abood, CEO, Gourmet Gift Baskets

Ryan Abood, CEO, Gourmet Gift Baskets

The Revolutionizing Role of Technology

Reporting and analytics are a fundamental necessity of running a business today. In the days of traditional media there were analytics that helped guide decision making, but today there are analytics that drive automated responses in the moment. For example, in November of this year we launched a new website design that was focused on making the overall experience for our customers better while driving increased conversion rates. That is the simplistic way to look at it. Prior to putting a design concept together, we poured over the analytics to see everything from common screen sizes to browser types and everything in between. In the days before having the advanced analytics of today, many decisions were made with instinct, much like the analytics use to guide decisions of the past.

"The device technology has and will continue to evolve in the years to come, and business owners will need to follow quickly or risk falling behind the technology curve"

To that point, the E-Commerce world is constantly being revolutionized by technology. Just a few short years ago it was rare to ever see a purchase made on a mobile  device. Now not only are purchases being made on these devices, but analytics show that those purchases are becoming much more a part of the everyday sales mix. The de vice technology has and will continue to evolve in the years to come, and business owners will need to follow quickly or risk falling behind the technology curve. Going back to the website we launched in November, one of the primary focuses was to ensure that the site was responsive, as this is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Data Integration for a 360 Degree View

The need for data and analytics provides us with all the information we need to create a 360-degree view of our customers. As an internet retailer without a brick and mortar storefront, our task of data collection can be considered easier than that of business with multiple stores and data collection techniques. That said, the task, no matter how large or small your business is, can be vital to your success today and for years to come. If a piece of data is available and can be collected, whether it’s an IP Address or a customer’s birthday, businesses must ensure the clean collection and storage of that information. No piece of information is irrelevant as you never know when you will need that information to segment your next sales or marketing effort. When the mentality of collecting all data is executed properly, the task of providing that information to the internal team requesting it becomes less of a “task”.

As an example, for many years we sold our products while collecting data about the occasion that our customers were sending the product for, and for many years we did nothing with that occasion data. Until someone on our marketing team wanted to provide an easy reminder for our customers to send another item for that same occasion the following year. We segmented the data and set up a campaign that automatically fires on a daily basis to send reminders to our customers that the occasion they purchased for last year is coming up again. The results were amazing and it’s a program that we continue to grow, but this program is one that could have never happened if we hadn’t been collecting the data all along. If you are not collecting data today and creating customer profiles find a way to start today. The results of setting the process up will reward you sooner or later!

Trends in Retail Technology

From a technology standpoint, 2016 is sure to bring more change and more reason for companies to adapt to the ever changing technology landscape. It will certainly be interesting to see where device driven consumerism takes us in the coming year. Already the early indication from Black Friday sales were that in-store purchases were down and e-commerce purchases were up substantially. As more consumers acquire devices and/or feel more comfortable with making purchases online, the technology side of running a business will become vital. Here are the trends that we are watching out for in 2016 as they relate to Retail Technology in the e-commerce segment.

1. Device & Mobile Purchases

a. At some point mobile and tablet buyers will become the bulk of the traffic that internet retailers see on their sites. Ensure checkout is seamless from device to desktop will continue to be a focus for years to come

2. Big data from technology will continue to lead the marketing in more personalized ways

a. Businesses will continue to gather data and insights into their customers and that will lead to a continued effort to personalize the messaging customers receive.

3. Video based marketing

a. We have all seen the videos that go viral, but we believe that the trend is going to lead to many more videos being available for many more products and services. Who hasn’t looked up how to fix something on YouTube?

4. Drone Delivery

a. Part joking and part reality. While it may not be tomorrow, drone delivery services could be on the horizon and it would certainly revolutionize the internet retail space.

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