Retail is going through one of its most disruptive periods with pressures coming from all corners. This disruption provides new opportunities and a window into where you can go next with your fashion brand to transform your business into a retail powerhouse. Now is the time for brands to adapt to a customer-led environment by sharpening their technological capabilities so they can prosper in this new environment.
A key underpinning of a modern brand is to ensure the shopping, buying and service experience is seamless across clicks, bricks and mobile. To do this, it is critical to understand the customer journey and use this journey to bring shopping, buying and service together in one experience. We call this a commerce ecosystem. This represents an end-to-end connection from the consumer to the middle office, back office and the supply chain.
What makes a commerce ecosystem different from what brands and retailers are using today?
Today, brands have their operations, technology and e-commerce disconnected from each other, they don’t collect data about their customers and they don’t consider the customer needs.
A typical mistake is that brands/retailers focus on only the technology, systems and operations instead of the customer journey first. They tend to spend more time building and supporting the systems and operations versus focusing on the customer. Also, choosing the right software and platforms is a vital decision, and in most cases these systems are not connected in a seamless way that promotes the buying, shopping and service experience. The end result is an overspend on technology, bloated operations and poor customer experience.
A commerce ecosystem has the customer needs at the center and has only the technologies and operations needed to provide the right experience in a holistic way.
Thinking about this entire process as a single ecosystem has a transformative impact.
- It helps you precisely predict, define and deliver the goods and services your customers want.
- It allows you to deliver your products in the manner in which customers want to receive them.
- It takes into account the processes and technologies involved and considers them as contributing toward that single customer journey.
- It adds efficiency to your operation.
- It provides much needed ease to your cash flow.
The end result is a frictionless customer experience, which conveys demonstrable benefits to your business. The experience is smoother, easier and more positive for the customer, so they enjoy the experience. Their needs are met, their loyalty for the brand increases, and they return to make that an ongoing part of their shopping journey. In other words, think Amazon.
The discrete goals of the buying, selling, and servicing cycles ultimately represent the full experience. It is critical to share and maintain that knowledge of the customer throughout each part of the journey. When a customer is buying something, that relies on a certain set of systems. If they need services, that would be another set of systems. It is this experience that brands can use to shape their product development, supply chain, operations and technology to align to the customer instead of forcing the customer to adapt to them. This is what will be used to drive AI in the future and allows the system to adapt to customer needs in real time.
Maintaining that comprehensive knowledge, data and view of the customer throughout the entire journey, will drive new opportunities for revenue and improved customer experience. With a commerce ecosystem, what was once a disconnected experience is now fully connected.
By connecting and focusing on the customer journey first, you will experience:
- Reduced costs.
- Simplified processes.
- Better inventory management.
- Reduced risks in production commitments (ability to project what and how much you will sell and produce accordingly).
- More personalized transactions.
- A better view into the customer.
- Increased customers loyalty.
- New opportunities for profit centers and/or growing existing profit channels.
- Smoother and more efficient customer service.
Those are some strong returns on your investments that will directly drive the growth of your business.
When thinking about the customer journey, we need to consider the systems, processes and employees that are all part of making it work. They should all be taken into account when striving to build a better experience for the customer and anyone who supports the customer.
Luckily we are living in exciting times, with a burst of retail innovation, driven largely by digital developments that allow us to connect the different departments, from product development, to logistics to marketing to sales to customer service, and centralize all notes, activities, and metrics into one single cohesive system—the commerce ecosystem.
Here at Human B, we spent the last 2 years with our team of experts identifying technological trends and developing a method to keep brands one step ahead of the market and designing a commerce ecosystem to fit their business based on their individual business model and needs. If you’d like to explore working with Human B in this way, please contact us here to schedule a call and find out how we can help your business.
Boaz David helps fashion brands and DTC companies design and develop effective supply chain and retail solutions to improve operation and increase business growth in today’s retail environment. He is the founder and CEO of Human B, a design, development, and production company. There he also uses his comprehensive product knowledge, and fashion business experience to provide strategic, financial, and operational leadership to fashion companies.