And How a Customer Identity Platform Can Help

E-commerce sales are projected to climb to 10% of all retail revenue for the first time by the end of 2018, with consumers expected to spend a staggering $124.1 billion over the internet during the holiday season.

With so much at stake, businesses need to offer superior online experiences to grow their market share. However, last year major e-commerce brands scored a dismal 33/100 overall in providing an optimal user experience to their consumers (IBM). Here are some of the major roadblocks:

  • Gaps in engaging users on mobile devices
  • Lackluster personalization efforts when leveraging mobile in retail environments
  • Underwhelming marketing campaigns trapped in the digital past

E-commerce companies have a long way to go to prevent their consumers from spending their money elsewhere.

Managing user identity with a customer identity solution can ensure a smooth and scalable response to growing demands in customer expectations. To prepare your enterprise business for success during the holiday season while keeping identity management in mind, here are three opportunities to consider.

1. Deliver Enhanced Mobile Experiences to Exceed Rising Consumer Expectations

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicking off the shopping frenzy, mobile shopping in November 2018 increased to represent 30% of all purchases and 49% of all traffic to e-commerce sites. Those numbers are expected to climb during the rest of the holiday season.

“Mobile is undoubtedly the most disruptive force in retail since the onset of e-commerce,” according to Rick Kenney, Head of Consumer Insights at Salesforce. Enterprise organizations need a digital transformation strategy in place for mobile to enhance and update processes and technical capabilities to suit customers’ changing demands. Without a digital transformation strategy, companies will fall by the wayside as their competitors capture more of the pie.

Using an identity management platform to enrich the shopping journey is a strong way to engage buyers for the holiday season and beyond.

For example, reduce cart abandonment rates and optimize upselling opportunities by triggering SMS notifications based on customer data when your users shop online, whether switching between desktop, mobile, or tablet. Imagine one of your customers buying an item on desktop from home but getting distracted before completing her purchase. When she opens the store’s app a few days later on her phone, she receives a message asking if she would like to receive an SMS notification for forgotten cart items and suggestions for complementary products.

With such user consent and mobile-targeting techniques, now you can reach users across their full journey with confidence.

2. Improve In-Store Experiences with Your Mobile Strategy to Satisfy Customers at ALL Touchpoints

Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dying. It only dies if you let it by not applying a digital strategy with identity management that personalizes the journey for your customers.

Almost 80% of sales year-round still occur in-store. Plus, despite a continual uptick in mobile usage, shoppers still blend their digital and mobile shopping with in-person buying experiences. For instance, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers were 50% more likely to pick up pre-bought goods on location than the previous year. In another telling figure, 83% of millennials and Gen Xers browse a store’s website or app on their phone while physically shopping on-location.

“Retailers will need to account for a number of mobile-friendly touchpoints in their overall strategy, including marketing engagement and in-store shopping journeys. Expect to see even more shoppers using mobile, especially as brands begin to encourage more in-store mobile engagement through push notifications and SMS messaging,” said Kenney.

There are a number of opportunities that e-commerce retailers can take advantage of here:

  • Authenticate a user’s identity and trigger relevant chat, email, or SMS workflows when users engage with their mobile device to ask about products. Use mobile for on-the-spot buyer guides, product fact sheets, and upselling suggestions.
  • Leverage aggregate e-commerce data from customer identities to install interactive in-store kiosks or arrange custom in-store layouts to offer complementary products, allowing users to compare items.
  • Integrate your identity management software with your e-commerce platform to synchronize profile and buying information. This integration ensures a personalized shopping experience between devices and physical locations.

Harmonizing digital and traditional touchpoints with customer identity management will separate the thrivers from the mere survivors for enterprise-level retail and e-commerce companies in the years ahead.

3. Start Using Personalization Techniques and Loyalty Programs to Get Ahead in the Digital World

E-commerce sales generated by predictive software will account for a massive 35% of all revenue during the 2018 holiday season. But what does this kind of sales generation actually look like, and how can online stores better implement these software solutions for new opportunities?

One good example is the changing face of loyalty programs. About 90% of shoppers plan on using loyalty programs during their holiday shopping, and half of those customers will spend more on purchases than they otherwise would have as a result.

Kohl’s, for instance, leveraged a previous partnership with Amazon to better integrate their online and in-store customer journey. The new “Kohl’s Cash” loyalty program helped them both hit record online sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and increased foot traffic to their physical locations.

Kohl’s didn’t simply target customers with product suggestions in their loyalty program based on browsing history. Over one-third of users find this approach invasive. Instead, Kohl’s created a more experiential approach that incorporated predictive selling from user data to encourage loyalty redemptions and upsells. Shoppers could buy and pick up Amazon items at Kohl’s retail locations. Then Kohl’s added in a unique, branded currency to appeal to their shoppers, further augmenting user-targeting based on shoppers’ combined Amazon and Kohl’s activities.

Kohl’s used data collected across Amazon, their “Kohl’s Cash” innovation, and all subsequent integrations, to improve their revenue metrics as well as gather user intelligence to leverage back into their loyalty program and drive customer engagement.

A full customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution can offer 360-degree profiling of your users across all touchpoints so you can tailor your loyalty programs in ways that engage your audiences and grow your company.