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Connected commerce refers to the integration of various technologies, platforms, and channels to create a seamless and interconnected shopping experience for consumers. It involves the convergence of online and offline retail channels, as well as the integration of different devices and touchpoints to facilitate the entire customer journey.
In connected commerce, customers can interact with brands and make purchases through multiple channels such as websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, in-store touchscreens, voice assistants, and more. The aim is to provide a consistent and personalized experience across all these channels, allowing customers to engage with a brand in a way that is convenient and relevant to them.
Connected commerce often relies on technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and cloud computing. For example, IoT devices can enable smart homes or smart stores, where connected appliances or sensors interact with each other and with customers to enhance the shopping experience. AI and data analytics can be used to gather and analyze customer data, enabling personalized recommendations and targeted marketing campaigns.
Overall, connected commerce aims to break down the barriers between online and offline shopping, creating a unified and immersive experience for consumers while enabling businesses to gather valuable insights and provide tailored offerings to their customers.
Here are a few examples oh how various brands are using connected commerce to create better customer experience:
Nike: Nike is known for its strong connected commerce approach. They have seamlessly integrated their online and offline channels to provide a cohesive shopping experience. Customers can browse products on their website or mobile app, personalize footwear through their NikeID platform, and even reserve items for pickup in-store. Nike also leverages digital technologies, such as their Nike+ app and connected fitness devices, to provide personalized recommendations, track activities, and engage with their customer community.
Starbucks: They offer a mobile app that allows customers to order and pay for their drinks in advance, earn rewards, and access personalized offers. Customers can also use the app to locate nearby stores, track their loyalty program status, and even send digital gift cards to friends. Starbucks has effectively connected their digital platform with their physical stores to streamline the ordering process and provide convenience to their customers.
Sephora: Sephora has embraced connected commerce by leveraging digital technologies to enhance the beauty shopping experience. Their mobile app enables customers to virtually try on makeup products, access personalized recommendations, and read product reviews. Sephora also integrates their loyalty program into the app, allowing customers to earn and redeem rewards. In stores, they have implemented technologies like interactive screens and beauty workshops to provide an immersive and connected shopping experience.
Walmart: Walmart is a prominent example of a brand utilizing connected commerce strategies. They have integrated their online and offline channels to provide a seamless shopping experience. Customers can browse products on their website or mobile app, access personalized recommendations, and order products for home delivery or pickup in-store. Walmart's Scan & Go feature allows customers to scan items with their mobile app while shopping in-store and complete the purchase directly from their device, reducing checkout time.
For example, you are shopping in a brand’s outlet and you select a lot of products for purchase. After completing your shopping you move towards the cash counter to make the payment but you see that there is a huge line at the payment counter and you will have to wait in the queue and not only that but you also have to carry so much stuff!
Everyone feels tired at the end and no one feels like standing in long queues, carrying so many shopping bags along. Relatable right!
Here is connected commerce to your rescue!
In many cases, if a customer sees a product offline, likes it, and finds it available at the same price from the same brand online, they may choose to make the purchase directly in the store. This scenario often occurs when customers prioritize immediate product availability or prefer the experience of purchasing in-person.
However, there are still some scenarios where a customer may choose to purchase the product online, even if it's available in-store at the same price. Here are a few reasons why this might happen:
- Convenience and time-saving: Some customers may prefer the convenience of online shopping, even if the product is available in-store. They may want to avoid traveling to the physical store, waiting in line, or dealing with potential crowds. Online shopping allows them to complete the purchase from the comfort of their own home or on the go.
- Home delivery: Online shopping offers the benefit of home delivery. If the customer chooses to purchase the product online, it will be shipped directly to their doorstep, saving them the effort of carrying it from the store to their home. This can be particularly advantageous for large or heavy items.
- Online exclusive benefits: While the price may be the same, the online platform may offer additional benefits or incentives that are not available in-store. These could include free shipping, exclusive online promotions or discounts, loyalty program rewards, or the opportunity to accumulate online purchase points or credits. Customers who value these additional perks may choose to make the purchase online to take advantage of them.
- Digital payment options: Online shopping allows customers to utilize various digital payment options, such as credit cards, digital wallets, or online payment platforms. Some customers may prefer the convenience and security of these payment methods over traditional in-store payment options, leading them to make the purchase online.
- Availability of product variants: While the customer saw and liked the product offline, they might discover that the online platform offers additional variants, colors, or sizes that are not available in-store. This expanded selection may prompt them to choose the online purchase option to access a specific product variant that better suits their preferences.
It's important to remember that customer preferences and motivations can vary significantly. While many customers may prefer to purchase the product directly in-store when the price is the same, others may opt for the convenience, additional benefits, or expanded selection offered through online shopping. Brands that offer both online and offline options provide customers with the flexibility to choose the purchasing method that aligns best with their individual preferences and needs.
- Enhanced customer experience: Connected commerce allows brands to provide a seamless and personalized shopping experience across various touchpoints. By integrating different channels and technologies, brands can offer convenience, customization, and consistency to their customers. This improves customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.
- Increased sales and revenue: Connected commerce enables brands to reach customers through multiple channels and capture sales opportunities at various touchpoints. It expands the potential customer base and enhances conversion rates. By leveraging data and analytics, brands can also offer personalized recommendations and targeted promotions, which can lead to higher sales and revenue generation.
- Omnichannel integration: Connected commerce bridges the gap between online and offline retail channels. It allows customers to start their shopping journey on one channel and seamlessly continue it on another. For example, customers can browse products online and make purchases in-store or vice versa. This omnichannel integration provides flexibility and convenience for customers while increasing brand visibility and accessibility.
- Data-driven insights: Connected commerce generates a wealth of data on customer behavior, preferences, and interactions. By leveraging this data, brands can gain valuable insights into customer trends, buying patterns, and preferences. These insights can be used to optimize marketing strategies, product offerings, inventory management, and operational decisions, leading to more informed and effective business decisions.
- Competitive advantage: Implementing connected commerce strategies can differentiate a brand from its competitors. By offering a seamless and integrated shopping experience, brands can stand out in the market and attract customers who value convenience, personalization, and a cohesive brand experience. It allows brands to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing consumer expectations in the digital age.
- Operational efficiency: Connected commerce can streamline various processes within a brand's operations. It can automate inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer service, reducing manual efforts and errors. By integrating different systems and channels, brands can also improve internal communication and collaboration, leading to more efficient workflows and optimized resource allocation.
Overall, connected commerce offers brands the opportunity to engage with customers in new and innovative ways, enhance the customer experience, drive sales, and gain valuable insights. It is a strategic approach that aligns with the evolving preferences and behaviors of today's digitally connected consumers.