Redefining ecommerce success: Understanding the New Trends in Customer Experience

New Trends in Customer Experience

The ecommerce landscape is in a constant state of flux, driven in part by the changing behaviours of consumers, and the enduring legacy of the pandemic. As businesses adapt to these changes, more effective collaboration with sellers becomes paramount, strategically targeting specific buyers across a multitude of websites and channels. This coordinated effort necessitates prioritising streamlined management processes that contribute to a seamless user experience. 

To succeed in this environment it is imperative for businesses to embrace these transformative trends and prioritise the delivery of exceptional customer experiences through a truly connected operations platform that supports the broader ecosystem. Chris Timmer, CEO, Linnworks, discusses these trends below.

Embracing Hybrid Buying

Gone are the days when online and physical retail existed in separate siloes. Today, we are witnessing a rise in hybrid buying where customers explore products online before completing their purchases in physical stores. Historically, this proved to be a challenge for retailers who adopted a disjointed approach, treating their online and physical stores as separate entities, resulting in an awkward and disjointed customer experience.

Today, retailers and the retail industry more generally are adapting to this hybrid model, and are recognising the value of offering both online convenience and in-store engagement. Customers may research products online but choose to visit physical stores for a hands-on experience before making their final purchasing decision. However, without a full 360-degree view of warehouse inventory, retailers may find it difficult to adapt to these changing purchasing habits and deliver a seamless buying experience across these channels. What is more, in the modern age, physical stores have become valuable tools in enhancing brand image, allowing customers to interact with products before committing to online purchases. The difference now versus ten years ago is that people don’t just buy online or in a store. They do both. This is especially important for retailers selling traditionally more hands on items, such as sunglasses. Without the presence of strategically placed physical stores, customers are unable to ‘try before they buy’, which can harm sales and the bottom line for retailers.

The evolution to hybrid buying in this instance underscores the crucial role of connected commerce operations in today’s changed retail landscape. By integrating online and physical stores together, retailers can enhance the customer journey, ultimately driving loyalty and sales. Therefore, a seamless, interconnected retail experience is paramount in meeting modern consumer expectations.

Cultivating Operational Agility

With the retail sector changing rapidly and unpredictably, operational agility is not just advantageous — it is essential. Retailers must be able to swiftly adapt processes, technology and operations in response to shifting market conditions to remain competitive. A critical component of this agility is investing in suitable retail technology that unifies and automates a retailer’s operational ecosystem in order to swiftly meet consumer demands.

Leading ecommerce platforms exemplify operational agility by offering customisable solutions that adapt to changing consumer behaviours and preferences. For example, the use and access to sophisticated data analytics can predict demand, balance stock levels, and boost supply chain efficiency. Agile businesses adopt adaptable strategies, adjusting based on real-time data and incorporating customer feedback into their campaigns. This approach ensures they remain relevant and actively engage customers.

A good example of this in practice is Shopify. Shopify provides a robust and customisable ecommerce solution in collaboration with its partners to enable businesses of all sizes to establish online stores. A key part of Shopify’s operational agility is its ability to adapt to changing consumer behaviours and preferences, which it achieves not just through its own features and updates but also through its network of partners in their ecosystem. This includes connected operations platforms which collectively enhance Shopify’s offering, showing the importance of a connected ecosystem in achieving operational agility.

The Rise of Brand Consolidation

In response to market dynamics, modern companies are increasingly consolidating brands to create diverse brand portfolios that cater to varied customer segments. This consolidation is not just about the customer experience; it is also about efficiency and cost reduction. By merging resources and operations, companies are able to benefit from economies of scale, streamline communications, and build a stronger market presence, enhancing effectiveness in competitive ecommerce landscapes. As a result of this activity, these newly merged companies also need to establish a large online presence to maximise visibility and elevate the new brand.

And finally...

It’s clear that operational agility, hybrid retail and brand consolidation are reshaping how ecommerce retailers address market demand. Embracing these changes and leveraging a connected commerce operations platform allows businesses to create efficient, robust digital presences ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of this changing retail environment.