In retail, consumer-centric digital experience is key differentiatorSeptember 14, 2021
Tectonic shifts in consumer habits are underway, according to a retail playbook by software solution company VMware, and consumer-centric experiences are a key differentiator in retail.
“The pandemic has redefined retail in Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Philippines is no exception to this,” said Walter So, VMware country manager, in an e-mail to BusinessWorld. “Filipino consumers have clearly indicated that they not only hope but demand that retail organizations meet their expectations for digital experiences.”
The Digital Frontiers 3.0 Study highlights trends among Filipino shoppers, including the use of virtual technology in consumer experiences, and the preference for brands that commit to sustainability.
Forty-one percent of SEA consumers do not miss in-store shopping as much as they thought they would, the study found.
In the Philippines, 66% of consumers welcome the advantages virtual technology brings, such as its ability to simulate what an item looks like on them, or how an item will fit in a desired space. This makes them more open to virtual technology than their global counterparts in the US (43%), France (43%), Germany (32%), and the UK (45%).
More than half (58%) of Filipino consumers have also said they prefer shopping with a fashion retailer that already knows their clothes size and color preference. This contrasts with the sentiments of those in the US (27%), France (40%), Germany (23%), and the UK (19%).
Despite embracing these new artificial intelligence (AI)- and cloud-powered experiences, survey respondents said they are prepared to switch to a competitor if a digital experience is not up to par (60% in SEA, 50% in the US, 40% in Germany, 36% in France, and 51% in the UK).
“In SEA, businesses are now facing their ‘sink or swim’ moment of leveraging cutting-edge innovations such as cloud and modern apps to redefine how they connect with customers digitally, or risk losing them to a competitor,” Mr. So said in a press statement.
“Apart from making sure that they are delivering hyper-personalized, seamless digital services, retail organizations now also have to focus on bridging the gaps in their offline and online operations and delivering a superior omnichannel experience to stay competitive in the digital economy ahead.”
Cloud technology may provide the agility to scale the business and the data to prioritize services, added Mr. So, but it has to be underpinned with “cloud smart” principles.
“Being cloud smart means having a clear multi-cloud framework aligned to our business goals. It is not a one-cloud-fits-all approach, but rather, a fit-for-purpose cloud architecture whether that be of a private or public cloud,” Mr. So told BusinessWorld. “This will ultimately enable the retailers to improve customer experience while optimizing operating models.”