The retail environment has experienced far-reaching changes over the past year. With the pandemic fundamentally shifting how customers interact with retailers, digital sales had to evolve at warp speed, and many retailers found themselves in uncharted territory. They had to deal with enormous jumps in online sales, increasing use of mobile, and the need to offer safer, “touchless” retail services such as curbside pickup or what’s known as BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store). Deploying the digital tools to meet these demands is now critical to success.
The numbers demonstrate just how much the retail environment has changed. Adobe’s latest data shows that online spending grew an amazing 32% across November and December. Meanwhile, curbside pickup made up 25% of all orders. And 52% of orders on Christmas Day came from a smartphone. For any retailer that isn’t on board with supporting these trends, the outlook is bleak.
To meet these and other demands, retailers must deploy digital systems that enable them to offer these services, operate more effectively, and improve agility to meet an ever-changing market. Adobe has just announced several enhancements to Adobe Experience Platform that enable retailers to achieve their business goals. These compelling new capabilities include:
- Leveraging Adobe Customer Journey Analytics with AI to detect anomalies: The complexity of managing a huge number of SKUs, ensuring that the shopping and checkout processes are working perfectly, and finding errors that break CX is daunting. AI can identify problems faster and fix them quickly. It can “scan” many aspects of CX and quickly find any issues. In one case, Adobe found a bug on one retailer’s site that would occur whenever a shopper added either of two unique styles to the cart; every time they were added, the cart was automatically emptied. This could have had a multimillion-dollar impact for the retailer if left unchecked. With the new update in Customer Journey Analytics, retailers can now leverage AI to go beyond the website and keep a close pulse on cross-channel services like curbside pickup.
- Improving the process of personalizing offers and promotions: In the quest to increase sales, many retailers bombard customers with offers, with little regard for whether they are appropriate for drawing the individual to the site or store. Adobe has launched Offer Decisioning, an application service built on Adobe Experience Platform, which enables retailers to deliver more focused, attractive, and appropriate offers to their customers. This rules-based system makes it easy to deploy a promotion such as a discount code only to those who, for example, have shopped with the retail five or more times in the last three months.
- Providing shoppers with a faster online shopping experience: Customers are no longer willing to put up with long wait times when they interact with a site. But when you use more data to drive CX and increase site complexity, it’s hard to deliver the requisite performance. Adobe is answering this problem with Adobe Experience Platform Launch Server Side. This solution moves processing from the browser or mobile device to the server, improving CX noticeably. In addition, it manages data collection and management processes, simplifying workflows and increasing performance.
The changes we saw in 2020 will continue into 2021, even after the vaccines have been administered and we can return to “normal.” Leading brands such as Adobe customers Sephora, Helly Hansen, Walgreens, and Home Depot continue to improve CX and add functionality, raising the bar for all. Adobe understands this and is providing the digital tools and platforms that enable all retailers to compete.