In a digital world, online shoppers expect a great deal when interacting with a commerce site and CIOs can help their marketing departments meet these expectations.
As the retail industry continues to disrupt and move from storefronts to a digital site, the key to winning online shoppers’ business is in providing an exceptional digital experience. Online shoppers, who are looking to quickly find goods to make purchases, need a commerce site that is user-friendly to navigate and fast to transact with. Increased levels of self-service are also amongst the highest expectations for digital shoppers; with online performance, ease of use and available products as the factors that will continue to help companies build successful sites and move their customers online.
Start with Data
While the eCommerce community grows, businesses continue to struggle with obtaining concise and accurate data regarding their online business and the drivers that move customers through a digital experience. Data is one area where the CIO can be a part of the customer-driven experience, even if they typically are not focused on customer-facing systems. By providing business leaders with fact-based analytics and business intelligence on how the company’s investment in their digital experience is being met, CIOs have the skills to help businesses conquer their data dilemma.
Fundamentally, a CIO has the ability to work with marketing business leaders to provide meaningful analytics, based on a shopper’s experiences and buying habits. This data isn’t just found in online clicks, as there are other paths where information can be found, including back-office applications.
Looking into the fulfillment of online ordering through a company’s financial system, for example, can marry the data with web-based information to form a picture of how an online shopper behaves. This insight can prove beneficial in understanding which products have a longer shelf-life than others and if products are cyclical in nature or have some other type of event that increases a shopper’s buying habits.
One of the pitfalls for obtaining analytics and business intelligence is the use of disconnected and legacy software. When data is disjointed or stored in older technologies, businesses can continue to have difficulty placing the right set of information in the hands of the business leaders that count on the intelligence to build additional features and services within the B2B site.
Move On to the Enterprise Footprint
A CIO who understands the impact of how data can help a business move forward will work throughout the organization to gather support to replace legacy applications with newer, integrated technologies that enhance the back-office ability to present information. A CIO who can also look at the enterprise footprint to identify weaknesses and overlapping applications can then work to eliminate or replace technology that doesn’t help to enhance the digital experience.
Newer, industry-standard technologies have native integrations to share data amongst applications and help to master information in the appropriate place. Data that is consolidated in fewer applications works to produce more accurate reporting, which ultimately leads to better business intelligence.
Consider the Communication Touchpoints
Outside of data and integration technologies, other areas a CIO should consider include communications that interact with a call center and an eCommerce site, utilizing various mechanisms that allow customers the ability to communicate with a commerce company and find answers regarding their online shopping experience. These technologies also produce information that can be matched to the online shopper’s experience.
Newer industry technologies like the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, further enhance the online experience and continue to add to the data sets within a digital shopping experience. These technologies are available for any size company and go one step farther in enhancing the shopper’s experience by presenting products for a personalized experience.
Continuously Improve the Digital Experience
Online shopping is the new normal and will continue to grow and many businesses have already figured out how to utilize technology to enhance an online shopper’s experience. Those companies that haven’t started their digital transformation or are looking to enhance their eCommerce platforms have the ability to work with vendors that can move them quickly into a successful online marketplace – and a CIO can certainly help with data, technology integrations, and communication systems.