With Black Friday just around the corner, Adrian Whitehouse, Alliances Director EMEA & APAC at Elastic Path, looks at how using digital platforms to connect online and in-store experiences is key to Black Friday success for “brick and mortar” retailers.
E-Commerce is like oxygen, you should only notice when it’s not there.
“Proving that everybody loves a bargain ¬around Christmas, the Black Friday juggernaut offers an annual revenue opportunity to retailers as online and mobile shoppers grow in number and confidence.
However, as Black Friday is a day when many shoppers put down their laptops and tablets and actually visit their local high-street, retail park or mall, retailers with physical stores must focus on connecting their online and offline customer experience to avoid causing frustration. There are many potential pitfalls for retailers – for example, it can be an incredibly frustrating shopping experience to find products on offer on the website but not available to buy instore.
Physical stores should offer customers flexibility too. Using point of sale (POS) systems which use customers’ online purchase history to recommend products or offer discounts to loyal customers makes for a superior experience for the customer, and can also lead to increased purchase volumes and loyalty.
In the same vein, retailers should be looking to leverage customer’s mobile devices to offer deals and product recommendations when they are in-store. Using online accounts to simplify offline interactions can also make shopping faster and more convenient — for example enabling a customer to run in and grab something they’ve forgotten without having to queue up to pay. Anything stores can do to make the shopping experience easier for customers will serve them well… at all times, but particularly during a major shopping event like Black Friday. Good customer experience is like oxygen, you should only notice when it’s not there.
Most importantly brands must test their systems far in advance of Black Friday to ensure they are prepared for the potential thousands of transactions a minute. Any approach to seasonal days like Black Friday needs a clear business strategy. With an agnostic API-led digital commerce platform you can address peaks all year-round and seamlessly and easily join up online and offline stores with the flexibility to tailor customer experiences to what’s at the front line, whether that be mobile, POS, a smart home device or wearable.”
By Adrian Whitehouse
Alliances Director EMEA & APAC