Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding, pressuring retailers to compete to provide the best customer experience. Ian Waters, Director of Solutions Marketing at ThousandEyes, looks at the past years’ shift in consumer expectations and how the changing technology landscape and increase in network traffic has given network monitoring a more important role than ever before in the customer journey.
Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly demanding. A sharp rise in the number of on-demand services available to us has enabled shoppers to foster higher standards when it comes to the level of service they expect from retailers. From food delivery to laundry services, the number of opportunities at our fingertips is vast granting consumers the option to move to the next retailer if their needs are not met.
What’s more, the growth of these services has raised the bar for online commerce, pressuring retailers to compete to provide the best possible online customer experience. Indeed, 75% of customers agree that they expect uniformity when shopping online, via social, on mobile and in person. And what’s more, Gartner predicts that by 2018 more than 50% of organisations will implement significant business model changes to improve customer experiences to better blend online and offline.
An example of a retailer already putting this into practice is UK fashion brand, Oasis. The company has opted to arm its shop assistants instore with iPads for access to real-time product information with the ability to place an order online for the customer if it is not available instore. The brand has also implemented a ‘seek & search’ service for online shoppers to locate an item instore to be delivered to them, creating a seamless experience across its ecommerce site, mobile app and brick-and-mortar locations.
Whilst leading brands can strive to reach these high expectations, meeting them requires many components to come together successfully. And conversely, failure to maintain a seamless experience can result in a tangible dip in revenue. Tests from Amazon show that even a one second delay could cost them $1.6bn a year. To put this into perspective, if a retailer is making $100,000 per day online, a one second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
However, the impact of slow load times and performance issues is not only felt in direct loss of sales. As many as 46% of consumers have used social media to ‘call out’ brands for negative customer experience and 92% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family rather than marketing. Slow load speeds on an online retailer’s website not only drives away existing customers, but could also ruin a brand’s reputation and deter possible new customers.
The key to retailers reaching the high consumer standards of today is for them to prioritise network and application health and ensure that they can withstand high levels of traffic. Traditional network management tools are unable to see beyond the corporate network boundary, limiting what the business can see. At ThousandEyes, we’ve surpassed this to provide visibility and insights into every network that retailers rely on, from the cloud service provider network and the corporate network all the way to the endpoint, unearthing degradation issues before performance problems arise.
Presently, the retail industry is undertaking the difficult task of rapidly adopting new technology in order to drive innovation that ultimately boosts customer engagement, sales and most importantly, loyalty. Visibility of the whole network, from public internet to endpoint, gives engineers the power to identify problem areas before they impact user experience and to easily see the cause if an issue does arise. It’s down to network intelligence to give retailers assurance that their revenues won’t fall to the mercy of their networks.
By Ian Waters
Director of Solutions Marketing
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