In recent months, changes in shopping behaviors have stretched many retailers. Surges online were accompanied by a renewed interest in mobile, while more people dabbled in new services like curbside delivery.
The full impact of this is coming into clearer view, with the latest figures from Adobe Analytics. All previous records have been shattered — online spending grew 32% across November and December at $188 billion. Curbside/in-store pickup made up 25% of all orders. On Christmas Day, the majority of revenue came through smartphones (52%).
As consumers yearn for a return to normal activities (like shopping at the mall), online growth is not expected to return to normal levels. Consumers who successfully purchased apparel online, as one example, are now less concerned about the lack of a dressing room. In short, it has given retailers a new set of priorities to focus on.
As part of NRF this month, Adobe is unveiling new tools in Adobe Experience Platform to help retailers grow their digital businesses. It continues our history of supporting brands as they evolved their approach to data and personalization, with customers from The Home Depot, Walgreens Boots Alliance and FedEx, to Sephora and Helly Hansen.
Adobe Experience Platform
This new set of updates are anchored in three areas that can have substantial impact, including the ability to identify broken experiences through AI, improve how discounts are personalized, and deliver faster websites and apps.
Each capability is made possible with Adobe Experience Platform, where signals from online and physical shopping are stitched together for customer experiences to be understood holistically — and not through the lens of any one specific channel. Brands can bring disjointed data together under a common language, removing some grunt work and enabling teams to take faster action.
New Adobe Experience Platform tools include:
Using AI to detect anomalies
Retail businesses can be incredibly complex. The average retailer carries thousands of styles, while offering multiple ways to purchase and collect. A minor flaw in the shopper’s experience could have outside effects. In one past instance, we helped one of our customers discover a bug in its eCommerce system, where two product styles emptied a shopping cart when it was added for purchase. This issue cost the brand millions in lost revenue before it was uncovered.
With Customer Journey Analytics, built on Adobe Experience Platform, retailers can now leverage AI to detect broken experiences (or to uncover new opportunities). This update takes anomaly detection beyond the website — where it has been predominantly used — and allows brands to see where issues arise as shoppers move between channels. A retailer for instance, can now use this to keep a close tab on curbside services and fix issues that arise in real-time.
A better way to personalize offers and promotions
Retailers expend a great deal of energy figuring out the right level and cadence of discount offers and promotions. Personalizing it, however, is largely driven by historical data and can be limited and narrow. Offer Decisioning, built on Adobe Experience Platform, expands this approach by enabling retailers to receive real-time signals that capture interactions happening across different channels. They are then able to leverage these insights to deliver more relevant offers and drive better conversion.
With a more accurate pulse on how shoppers engage and their preferences, retailers can layer more depth into their promotional strategies. As one example, a brand could issue a custom offer with the following rules — customers who have shopped over 5 times in the last 6 months, and are currently at a retail store for curbside delivery, will get the offer. This allows them to reward loyalty, in a moment where it counts.
Delivering a faster shopping experience online
Site performance is a unique concern in the retail industry, as it can quickly become a roadblock for things like impulse purchases. Developers and IT teams are under greater pressure to deliver, but they are constrained by increasingly complex websites and data processing needs. Third-party technologies enabling everything from analytics solutions to personalization platforms have made the data collection process heavier and more tedious, creating sluggish sites and apps as an unfortunate by-product.
Retailers can now leverage a new capability, Adobe Experience Platform Launch Server Side, to increase performance by moving work once done in the browser — or on a mobile device — to the server. It provides a single control center for any data collected with Experience Platform Web and Mobile SDKs, simplifying workflows. With this new capability, retailers can now standardize data from unrelated channels and streamline their data collection processes. As a result, brands can deliver faster web and app experiences, and see higher conversion rates.
Additional NRF news
- Magento Commerce: We are also announcing that brands can now leverage Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) via the AEM SPA editor to edit storefronts built with PWA Studio, Magento’s Progressive Web App (PWA) framework designed with a headless approach. With consumers utilizing their mobile devices more to complete transactions, marketers need to create rich, fast, and app-like experiences for web to drive engagement and conversions.
- 2020 Holiday Recap Report: Analysis by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), which uses Adobe Analytics to analyze trillions of online engagements to 80 of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., has found that COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on how people shopped online in 2020. You can access the full report here, for the latest data on online spending, mobile usage, curbside delivery, and more.
Connect With Us And Other Small Business Owners
Please head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.