Problem

A global retailer with an online store and well established brick and mortar locations desired a more catered experience for customers that frequently shopped multiple channels, but wanted more engagement and personalization through their smartphones.  With industry trends indicating that customers engaging across multiple channels with one brand improving overall spending and loyalty, the retailer was interested in merging the experiences from their online store and brick and mortar stores together for a more seamless experience.  Multiple challenges were presented as part of the initiative:

  • Lack of Unified Inventory - merchandise purchased online or in stores were not centrally synchronized and tracked in real time, so purchases from one channel were not visible to someone shopping in another channel.  For example, someone shopping online for items in a local store were not able to see what was in stock before making a purchase or making a trip to the local retail location.
  • Competing Channel Teams - with customer journeys being managed completely separate from each other for the online channel and the physical retail locations, there were concerns of revenue cannibalization and loyalty rivalry for high-value customers.  Creating a mobile experience to blend the channel experiences together needed to focus on the customer experience without the historical biases.
  • Varying Channel Technology Stacks - the technology architectures supporting the various channels across the business were very different, and a solution to allow integrations across all of them would be needed to accomplish a seamless customer experience.

The overall desire would be to provide the customer with a native application on their smartphone that allowed the customer to not only shop all of the digital store merchandise, but also merchandise across every location in the country.  With a goal of consolidating a shopping experience for all available inventory in the brand, and a clean interface to allow coordination with retail location personnel or shipping options - the customers could ultimately shop the way they wanted to from the convenience of their phone.

Solution

We began with an Understand phase, a process where we learned from subject matter experts, hosted user focus groups and actually worked with the various customer systems to learn the process and gain a deep understanding of our users’ pain points in all channels. The Understand phase resulted in initial concepts and plans for a custom mobile application that would allow customers to shop across all channels and coordinate with retail locations for merchandise in nearby stores.  Centralized inventory tracking and customer profiling were also planned in the initial milestones, and leveraging the existing digital commerce infrastructure allowed for purchasing functionality to remain consistent with existing experiences.

Systems integrated across the enterprise included:

  • eCommerce System
  • Order Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Custom Web Services
  • ERP Inventory Management
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics

Result

As a result of this initiative, the retailer experienced the following:

  • First proof of concept mobile app for both Apple and Android devices that unified the shopping experience and inventory from all locations in the business.
  • Support from all channel teams to expand and complement other channel-specific customer journeys.
  • Ability to coordinate purchases and merchandise presentation appointments with local retail store locations.
  • New analytics feed for "high-value" customers that were engaging frequently across all channels to expand on personalization feature offerings and notifications through the app.

The native mobile customer application has become a key platform for crafting personalized experiences for all customer segments with the ability to uniquely blend the digital and physical storefronts.

Retail Customer Mobile App

Overview:

A global retailer was looking to strengthen customer journeys between the online and brick and mortar channels by creating a mobile application to help unify the experience, inventory, and shopping experience.

Technologies:
Cloud Native Solutions
Cross Platform Mobile
Micro-services
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