Do you remember the last time you spent an entire day shopping? You waited in long lines for the fitting room and again to check out, trekking between stores to compare prices and swiping your credit card each time. I bet it was a while ago.
Today, the shopping experience is often entirely different. We are living in the era of the online store which already knows your name, your billing information, and can even recommend items to buy. These online marketplaces can present you with the very best shopping experience. But how do they know what exactly you like?
Online shopping has won consumers’ hearts by offering fast deliveries, easy payment, and a broad variety of items has made it much more convenient to shop while sitting on the sofa on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Fast-growing online marketplaces haves forced traditional retail companies to rethink how to preserve customers’ loyalty, stay up-to-date, and meet the highest expectations of spoiled online shoppers.
Data suggests that the online retail industry is growing rapidly. Forrester Research found that online sales in the United States will reach $248.7 billion by 2014. In Western Europe, sales are expected to reach $155.7 billion. To cope with increasing content as well as customers, retailers are requiring a new level of assistance from business software developers.
One of the new developments is Real Time Bidding (RTB), which allows retail to go far beyond simple personalization and enables them to track an individual’s real-time behavior. Because of intense competition, today’s retailers must deliver targeted information faster than ever to every single prospective customer.. Companies such as AT&T, Amazon.com, American Express, and Verizon have already switched their marketing strategies from outdated personalized advertising to RTB-based platforms. New technologies empower retailers not only to recapture customers’ interests, but also to follow them around the Internet and influence their decision- making processes up until the point of sale.
SAP, known for its strong partnerships with global retailers like L’Oreal, Burberry, Under Armor, P&G, and Zappos has invented the SAP Customer Activity Repository (CAR). The new application, based on SAP’s in-memory HANA technology, was launched this month at the SAP Retail Forum in Dallas, Texas. It aims to inform retailers about customer by consolidating customer interactions from stores, online and mobile channels with insight from social media feedback like Twitter and Facebook. A greater understanding of real-time customer demands can helps companies be more efficient in predicting future buying behavior, and also improve branding, pricing, and marketing techniques.
SAP CAR is not the first real-time marketing tool to improve retail businesses. Last year another cloud-based solution, SAP Precision Retailing, was unveiled to deliver suggestions and personalized offers to customers in real time. Like SAP CAR, SAP Precision Retailing creates instant connections with consumers and influences buying behavior by implementing personalized offers delivered at the point of purchase. For their part, retailers can maximize their marketing efforts, optimize supply chain operations, and provide a better shopping experience.
Today, it’s not enough to simply know a customer’s name. Retailers are expected to not only satisfy their customers’ needs, but also create a targeted campaign to reach out to them. As the latest innovations in the retail business are introduced, shoppers will be pleasantly surprised by the expanded and comfortable shopping.