Today's digitally-native customers expect an extensive product selection, faster delivery, lower prices, and streamlined processes. Retail digital technology helps businesses achieve those goals - especially for modern consumers that demand seamless experiences throughout the purchase process.
Digitizing the customer experience refers to integrating technology and tools into various touchpoints of the customer's experience with your brand or business. This quick guide can serve as a starting point for learning about the digitization process and how it works. You’ll also learn how MuleSoft Anypoint integrates data from multiple sources and systems to evolve the customer experience, optimize internal operations, and enable effective decision-making through data-driven insights.
The Digital Customer Journey
Capturing data is one of the primary goals of digitizing the customer experience. The typical customer journey outlines stages of the buying process and helps us identify possible touchpoints for data collection.
The digital customer journey is similar to the traditional pre-internet model used by marketers for decades. While the specific stages or steps can vary, all models in the digital era have something in common: data generation at every stage:
The awareness stage is where the potential customer first sees your products or services, usually after conducting a search query, seeing an advertisement, or through a referral. Data generated at this stage typically reveals the customer's desires, pain points, and buying preferences.
At this stage, the customer is exploring offerings on your website, social media profile, or online marketplace. This process typically includes reading reviews and comparing your products with other brands. Data generated at this stage usually includes search behavior on your website, product views, social shares, and additional product-specific information.
At this stage, the customer is viewing product demos or using virtual try-on applications as part of the decision-making process. Data generated at this stage reveals purchase preferences related to variations, sizes, colors, and other specific product factors.
The customer is adding the product or service to the cart at this stage. Data generated from previous steps is used to recommend additional products before the user finalizes the purchase.
The post-purchase stages involve confirming and fulfilling the order, obtaining reviews and ratings, social sharing, and referrals. Data generated at this stage reflects inventory, shipping, and customer service processes.
Why a Digital Transformation Strategy is Critical
Digitizing the shopping experience enables data collection from each stage of the customer journey, allowing your business to:
Address Evolving Consumer Expectations
Digitization directly addresses the constantly changing expectations and behaviors of your customers. By continuously collecting and analyzing data, digitization enables you to personalize the shopping experience, predict product demand, optimize order fulfillment, improve customer service, and more.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
In an increasingly competitive market, data helps you identify what products are in demand, which ones are dropping in popularity, and what trends are gaining momentum. Using that data to achieve a high degree of personalization provides a competitive edge that adds value to the shopping experience.
Google reports that consumers are 40% more likely to spend more than planned when they identify the user experience to be highly personalized. Key data points, such as content engagement, past purchases, email click-throughs, direct interaction, and other information fully customizes each touchpoint to create a highly personalized shopping experience.
Increase Customer Engagement
Digitization enables your business to create opportunities for customer interactions across multiple digital touchpoints. These opportunities help brands develop stronger connections with customers that can lead to repeat purchases and referrals.
Improve Products and Services
Digitizing the purchase process helps your business gather critical review and ratings data from multiple sources at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This review data is fundamental to improving products and services, refining your product catalog, and predicting future demand.
Achieve Omnichannel Consistency
Websites, mobile apps, social media profiles, advertisements, events, physical locations, and customer service lines represent common touchpoints encountered by buyers. Some organizations put each channel in a silo, which makes it difficult or impossible to maintain consistency and provide a cohesive omnichannel experience.
Given current trends, this strategy works against them - especially considering that 73% of customers use multiple digital channels during their shopping journey. Entering information can be frustrating for some customers as they move between channels. Process digitization eliminates this problem by unifying customer data across all touchpoints.
For example, a customer needs support after she makes an in-store purchase. She talks with a representative through live chat. This support agent sees the product purchased and other customer details through integration with the in-store POS system. The customer gets referred to the phone line and the previous chat log and product information shows up for this support rep.
After the buyer gets the help she needs, she receives a follow-up email a few days later, checking in to ensure she encountered no additional issues. This omnichannel customer experience approach reduces friction throughout the process and helps the consumer feel valued.
Case Study: How Mad Mobile Unlocked New Business
Opportunities with AVIO
Mad Mobile partnered with AVIO Consulting to upgrade Concierge, a mobile app and point-of-sale system that enables retailers to sell items online and in-store, connect with customers, fulfill orders, access customer marketing data, and more.
AVIO incorporated video and chat-based functionality into the app to enhance the customer experience and unlock new opportunities for the company.
Why Businesses Choose MuleSoft Anypoint to Digitize the Customer Experience
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform integrates information, systems, and processes into a cohesive, fully digital, data-driven environment that enhances the shopping experience, builds customer relationships, and optimizes internal operations.
Anypoint helps you create a single view of your customers and operations to provide a seamless shopping experience. The system also shares information across your entire data ecosystem to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve employee collaboration. Real-time data additionally help your service teams deliver fast, customized, and efficient support experiences that increase customer loyalty and generate referrals.
MuleSoft Anypoint Solves Common Retail Challenges
MuleSoft Anypoint effectively addresses common challenges faced by retail businesses, including:
Retailers often have issues integrating legacy systems with modern software, and this often has severe consequences on the flow of data between applications. MuleSoft Anypoint solves this problem through a unified framework that connects existing systems with popular cloud-based software to eliminate data silos and permit information flow.
Supply Chain Visibility
Today's consumers expect a wide selection of products, fast delivery, and real-time status updates. MuleSoft helps businesses meet those demands by integrating data from logistics partners and suppliers to achieve complete supply chain visibility.
Consistency Across Sales Channels
Providing a consistent experience across all sales channels can be a challenge. MuleSoft's API-led approach allows data to flow by connecting different systems, enabling you to customize consumer experiences, provide real-time inventory updates, and support customer service teams.
Scaling systems during low and peak periods is critical to maintaining consistent service quality. MuleSoft Anypoint helps businesses quickly scale their operations through caching mechanisms, load balancers, and other flexible cloud-based server resources.
Data Security and Compliance
Governments are increasingly enacting privacy regulations governing the protection of personal data. MuleSoft's security protocols ensure data security and compliance with regulations, including rules set by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Best Practices for Process Digitization
Fully digitized processes provide immense value by reducing operating costs and streamlining operations. Organizations may be tempted to "boil the ocean" and tackle the end-to-end process all at once. However, rapidly changing business processes lead to massive staff disruption.
Employees need training to get up to speed on new systems, and departments may need to be restructured. Additional hiring for specialized positions also takes time. If a company rushes the process of digitization implementation, it may have a negative impact on the customer experience due to internal disruption. Organizations should incrementally digitize their processes for smooth, controlled deployment with limited company-wide disruption.
Start Your Digital Evolution with a Free Assessment
Customers enjoy their experiences with highly digitized companies, and they are increasingly expecting similar levels of service from every business. Organizations must evolve to stay competitive, and process digitization is an essential component of your retail transformation strategy.
Get started on the right track by scheduling a free assessment with one of our experts. You’ll discover if your current setup meets industry standards, how it compares to your competitors, and what areas may need improvement or optimization.