Guest Column | September 14, 2022

The Great Unwinding

By James Brooke, Amplience

Retail Business Open

There has been much written lately about an eCommerce decline. Recent earnings announcements point to a drop overall in consumer purchases, including online. Also, the pandemic-related company valuations and free capital once available to businesses focused on eCommerce are coming down. Adding to that, with industry shakeups like Shopify laying off staff, all signs point to online commerce decreasing.

However, it is more of an unwinding of the pandemic pace rather than an eCommerce decline. Ecommerce growth rates are reverting to pre-pandemic status – but still growing. Global eCommerce sales are expected to exceed $5 trillion worldwide in 2022, with the number expected to continue growing over the next few years.

Now it is more important than ever to be able to move quickly in the market given the evolving changes, and older technology is not nimble enough in the current environment. Retailers need solutions that enable them to capitalize on the opportunities with eCommerce – and quickly.

What should retailers be considering?

  1. Get Ready For A Digital-Only World

Being responsive or dabbling in digital is no longer sufficient. Retailers need to make investments in new technologies and digital platforms now more than ever to support a strategy that puts digital – and the customer – at the heart of their business strategy.

It will be challenging to compete in a digital-only world. The capacity to create experiences for customers and deliver what they want, when they want it, will determine success. If retailers cannot do this effectively, customers will not hesitate to go elsewhere.

  1. Alter The Experience, Not Just The Content

It is time for retailers to differentiate themselves through exceptional customer experiences. To do this, they must deliver these experiences to customers in a consistent manner across all relevant channels in a personalized way.

The next crucial step is to keep improving the digital experience as quickly as possible. Offerings from competitors shift. Products from a brand can change. Customer preferences alter.

Retailers must therefore constantly improve their client experiences if they want to stay competitive. For millions of customer journeys, which entails generating and managing a variety of experience versions, making thousands of changes each month, week, and possibly even day if retailers can automate some of it.

  1. Adopt An Agile Strategy

It is undeniable that technology and, more significantly, which organizations design and manage all of their processes and workflows are essential to achieving a customer-centric, digital-first approach.

The issue is that traditional, monolithic commerce and content platforms frequently are unable to address bottlenecks and backlogs. Their rigidity is sabotaging production and the opportunity to adapt to the change. If companies using these systems are lucky, they might be able to release updates every month. However, many retailers are stuck with a backlog of technical updates they can’t complete. For the necessary flexibility and speed, an agile approach is needed.

  1. Control The Online Experience Using Content Instead Of Code

Retailers must make use of platforms that enable them to define the customer experience through content rather than code. With these kinds of solutions, they may do away with complicated templates and templating languages that require developers to make modifications and transition to an environment where altering user experiences is simple, quick, and easily scalable by people on the eCommerce and marketing teams rather than developers.

This can be addressed with a headless platform, which separates the front-end presentation layer (head) from the back-end functionality using APIs. This gives retailers the flexibility and freedom to concentrate on enhancing customer eCommerce experiences and generating results for their businesses.

In Conclusion

It is clear that today, consumers can buy from anywhere in the world, and at almost any time with their mobile phones and tablets always at their fingertips. With large-scale marketplaces (like Amazon) flooding the market and worldwide shipping making foreign merchants more accessible than ever, retailers are scrambling for attention and trying to stand out in any manner they can – not only domestically but also globally.

Since consumers have more options than ever, it is increasingly more difficult to capture their interest, earn their patronage, and secure their loyalty. And a significant differentiation is the digital experience that customers get.

Retailers should put their time and effort into the recommendations above to address this and remain relevant to consumers now – and well into the future.

About The Author

James Brooke is the Founder and CEO of Amplience.