Blog Archive

It’s spring, the sun is shining and you are full of energy. It’s time to sport again, and get yourself fit. You set ambitious goals and start training. But having a good condition isn’t enough. It’s also important to have the right equipment.

This summer, you would like to cycle in the French Pyrenees. And so you decide to invest in a new bike that fits you best.  

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Hybris Software, leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, enlightened the future of its eCommerce and marketing platform. The annual summit in Munich promised to be exciting again, and exceeded our expectations!

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You work for a fashion company. How is your relationship with your current software package? Not satisfying anymore? Or are you a software single? Did you ever consider going cube with SAP AFS (Apparel and Footwear)?

Fashion is complex

This SAP industry-specific solution fulfills the specific demands for the fashion industry, which is characterized by a high level of complexity. Assume you sell shirts. You will wear one unique piece yourself during your date when going cube! Your shirt exists in a variety of models, colors and sizes. Size conversion is often needed, for example a German L is the same as a European XL. And because you want to look impressive for your date, you have specific demands for labels and packaging. The business demand is highly seasonal and as a result overstock is hard to get rid of. A lot to take when you are software single or when your software relationship is having hard times. Let me introduce you to SAP AFS, and let’s see if you’re a match!

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Personalization is one of the major buzzwords in Digital Marketing today. We are all a big fan of personalized service as offered in our favorite brick and mortar stores, but many of us struggle to translate this analog prerogative to a digital environment.

Men are receiving special offers for pink, fluffy sweaters (if that is what you’re into, more power to you) and hardcore cyclists are getting good deals for fishing lure. Sure, the e-mails that were sent out started out with a personalized salutation to a Mr. or Mrs. John or Jane Doe, but that is where the story ends.

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Today’s reality displays an undeniable revolution in the mobile arena.

Advanced devices are constantly launched on the market, offering shoppers unseen yet compelling experiences. With data communication rates dropping, more and more mobile device users are opting for high capacity bandwidth packages. Mobile content is exploding with ever-growing e-stores filled with billions of applications.
It is safe to say that mobile adoption will continue to rise in the coming years. So, now is definitely the time to replicate your existing online content for the mobile channels, you think?

I’m afraid the answer is no. Just making a copy of your online offering hoping it will fit into some smaller screen sizes will not do the job. You should keep the context of use and the unique benefits of each mobile platform in mind when you develop your mobile strategy.
In the consumer market, tablets are typically used as a ‘lean back’ device. Smartphones on the other hand, are more used in an ‘on-the-move’ context, where the user is in need of specific info or services. In this ‘use case scenario’ you should design mobile-fit services, taking into account the specifics of the device at hand. The keywords are personalization, interactivity, local context, simplicity, immediacy and convenience.

The tablet ‘brand’ experience

Let’s imagine you are a traditional retailer.

You gained in-depth experience in orchestrating the in-store experience that invites the shopper to inspiration, discovery and purchase. At night, that same shopper explores your offering on his or her tablet device from the comfort of his or her living room sofa.
You should make at least the equally significant effort of extending that same brand experience to the tablet and mobile environment, and not just putting the catalogue on line. For starters, you can create a tablet-friendly user experience.
Get your basics right: streamline and fit the content, make it swipe-enabled, don’t use any built-in Flash (it doesn’t work on iPad, remember), reduce loading times, etc.
Then try to offer that extra content the competition is not offering: enrich! Use more engaging materials, rich media, sharp and compelling images, video. Build a real ‘product advisor’ experience. It is not only about searching for product info; you should offer discovery and purchasing tools as well.

In-store ‘learn’ experience

What about the in-store experience of the mobile enabled shopper?

At the moment, the trend is for showrooming: shoppers are using their smartphone for product research and price comparison. But even during the shopping experience, shoppers are using their mobile devices to become more informed. They are actively looking to find out information they are not able to get from the sales guy on the shop floor, or looking to get confirmation from that same sales guy of information they found using their mobile device.

So how can you, as a retailer, respond to this trend? Here are four best practices:

  • Push your own mobile value proposition and brand experience.
    Make your richer product information and user reviews easily accessible – by offering QR codes for instance.
    Help the shopper find the information they are seeking to make the right purchase decision: technical information, comparisons, video reviews, and more.
  • Support your sales force by offering them tools to engage with the customer in the search for information. The sales guy doesn’t know everything. His sales pitch can for instance be guided by a tablet app.
  • Have a mobile loyalty offering: offer shoppers additional advantages while they are still in the store by pushing personalized offers using Blue-tooth and Wi-Fi technologies.
  • Enrich the offline buying experience by offering bonus features: let the shoppers themselves check assortment availability by scanning the shelf and offer free shipping of out-of-stock items.

To summarize: you should try to embrace this ‘comparison shopping’ and offer added value.
This can only be done by having a holistic view on your channels and developing a cross-channel sales strategy.

Author: Arend Lauwers. You can follow Arend on Twitter (@arendlauwers) or connect with him on LinkedIn

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