This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Record.
Avanade is working with one of Italy’s biggest grocery chains, which has over 1,000 physical stores, a successful e-commerce site and a mobile app that is used by three million customers. In the past, siloed processes and systems prevented the retailer from offering a consistent customer experience across these channels. However, this has changed thanks to the Commerce Cloud multichannel content management system implemented by Avanade.
“Supported by Microsoft Azure, the platform maintains all information about the products, prices, discounts, promotions, loyalty programmes and members, and more,” says Marcos Suárez, retail strategy and growth director at Avanade Europe. “Now mobile customers get an experience consistent with other channels, and obtain promotions that can be used in the store. We’re extending the solution to improve online/mobile click-and-collect order management.”
The Italian company is just one of many retailers that is adopting a multichannel content management system to give customers a unified cross-channel shopping experience.
“Digital platforms like Uber, Amazon and Netflix are redefining the customer experience, so consumers now expect the same experience when they interact with retailers and purchase products via mobile apps, e-commerce sites and social media, as well as traditional physical stores,” says Suárez. “Cloud-based multichannel content management systems provide a central hub to orchestrate all product and commerce-related information, making it easy for retailers to deliver the same experience via channels as they emerge.”
The benefits are two-fold. Customers see consistent product, pricing, promotions and brand information, while the retailer has an integrated view of how products are performing, how customers are interacting with their brand, and a real-time overview of stock levels.
“When customers get the same personalised shopping experience via every channel, they develop a stronger relationship with the brand, which boosts loyalty and drives sales,” Suárez says. “Meanwhile, retailers can guarantee that any product or pricing changes are instantly reflected across all channels so customers don’t see out-of-date information. Plus, the merchandising, purchasing and marketing teams can collaborate to better understand customer behaviour and product trends, and develop more effective marketing campaigns.”
Suárez recommends that retailers implement multichannel content management systems as part of a wider digital transformation journey.
“A holistic digital transformation initiative that covers digital customer-facing channels, sales, services and also internal processes will help retailers to make operations more efficient, boost employee collaboration, drive sales and more,” he says. “Working with an experienced partner like Avanade enables retailers to gain an overview of their current business situation, identify opportunities for change, and develop the optimal strategy to ensure a successful transformation.”