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Equipping Businesses for the Age of Digital Shopping

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The decline of brick-and-mortar stores in favor of digital shopping platforms is inspiring businesses everywhere to improve their customers’ online experience.

Credit Suisse estimates that there could be more than 8,640 store closures this year, breaking the 2008 record of approximately 6,200 store closures. Meanwhile, the US Census Bureau has recorded a 0.8% increase in consumer spending in November 2017 (a 5.8% hike from the previous year), showing that spending is not the factor.

Credit Suisse Estimates

According to McKinsey & Company, “digital’s share of total retail sales in the United States has been growing by about 15% annually over the past 5-years.” For mobile channels, the growth is +25% in 2017 alone. Today, 60% of Americans have smartphones, and 80% of them shop with their device.

Companies that want to capitalize on this shift need to consider the following 4 trends as they prepare for the future:

  1. Changing Face of the Consumer

    Meet Generation Z, the first generation of digital natives. Born into a world of smartphones and streaming, they have very different needs than their forebears.

  2. New Patterns of Personal Consumption

    Customer expectations are changing fast and often. Today’s shoppers are looking to fit shopping around their busy lives - not the other way round.

  3. Technological Advancements

    The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and increasingly sophisticated analytics solutions are revolutionizing the landscape of online business.

  4. Structural Industry Shifts

    The recent Amazon takeover of Whole Foods is just one example of how businesses are embracing the digital revolution, and shifting their focus to online.

digital User Experience (UX) plays a key role in the ongoing changes to the culture of how people shop.

All pointing to the same conclusion: that digital User Experience (UX) plays a key role in the ongoing changes to the culture of how people shop.

In fact, it has widely been reported that UX is the new salesperson. In the past, the consumer would enter a store, and be greeted and advised by a sales assistant. Based on this interaction, the salesperson would assess the customer’s needs and goals, and adapt the experience accordingly. Today’s online customer expects that same level of experience, hence the development of AI and bots to achieve personalized, more human customer journeys.

But personalizing journeys implies knowing your customer inside out. Enter digital experience analytics. These allow you to measure and compare traffic and engagement from one country to another, one device to another, taking into account factors like time of day, mood, reason for visiting your site, and source of origin (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc), to name a few. With behavioral data in their arsenal, digital teams are now able to understand why and how prospects use their platforms, and can optimize their sites accordingly.

And with data-driven insights into the real behavior of their digital customers, companies can identify pain points on their platforms, prioritize optimization efforts, and in turn achieve real conversion growth.

Marcus Magarian is a Business Developer in ContentSquare.  Reach out to talk about how behavioral data can help your business prepare for the future of digital commerce: marcus@contentsquare.com

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