What does the future retail landscape look like? How does Covid impact consumer behavior? What will customers expect from their shopping experience? These matters were discussed during the retail conference NXT Digital Oslo.
When the Covid pandemic first struck, companies faced a series of shocks. Customer needs and behaviors switched overnight, challenging business, operating and technology models. According to Euan Davis, VP at Cognizant’s Center for Future of Work, retailers have had to adapt quickly to survive.
Please note that most content in this video from the NXT Digital event is in Norwegian.
As a response to the current situation, everything that can move online will move online. For example, just imagine doing Christmas shopping in brick-and-mortar stores like last year again. Traditional retailers, like Marks & Spencer, are now fighting for a larger slice of the online market. While some of the new behavior will snap back, some will remain, like seniors embracing online shopping. Many retailers are now reviewing the amount of physical store space they will need when the virus recedes.
Customer-centric sales ahead
Already before the pandemics, however, retail had embarked on a journey towards increased digitalization. Allan Borre Ingwersen, Design Lead at Cognizant, holds vast experience from helping Nordic retailers transform. He says that personalization is key – preferably hyper-personalization.
Customers of today expect to get relevant offerings and experiences and to provide that, retailers must gather data. Customers must also understand the value of sharing their data with a specific company. Hyper-personalization requires even more data from several sources, data that in turn can be utilized by AI and analytics.
To succeed, there are three main areas to focus on: Connect with customers to understand them, engage with customers to get to know them better, and build customer-centric experiences that are based on the collected data. Also, look for partnerships with other vendors where you can combine data to make relevant customer offerings.
A digital platform to meet customer needs
A company that has been successful with a new customer-centric digital strategy, is the Norwegian airline Widerøe. When the company was separated from SAS in 2016, it faced the challenge of autonomously promoting and selling its products. The company searched for a new digital platform, that could meet requirements on flexibility, personalization, clarity, and analytics.
Adobe Experience Cloud was chosen, and Cognizant helped to roll out the new solution. Just before the pandemic, Widerøe was approaching its all-time high result. Kristian Sonnenberg, Director of Digital Strategy & Business Development at Widerøe, says that the platform helped them take on an offensive approach as Covid hit. For example, 20,000 customers were quickly asked their opinion on flying, a survey that resulted in a successful summer campaign.
To learn more, visit our retail section of the web and read about technology’s role in retail and consumer goods.