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Progressive Identity and the Modern Retailer: Bridging the Online to Offline Experience

Create a seamless online and offline experience


It's important to create a smooth online/offline shopping experience for customers.. This article tells you why and how you can start to bridge the gap.

Retailers — Are Your Customers’ Experiences Fragmented?

One of the biggest challenges faced by retailers today is finding ways to extend interactions inherent to the digital world — for example, registration and account management and personalized experience — into brick and mortar stores and the physical point-of-sale. In essence, retailers want to close the online-to-offline gap to build a seamless customer journey, whether that journey begins online or in-store. Doing so provides enormous potential to enhance customers’ experiences and personalize their journeys.

To achieve this, retailers can leverage the SAP Customer Data Cloud, as part of the SAP C/4HANA suite, to seamlessly identify and engage customers across channels and devices and manage collected data in a holistic, secure and transparent way.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Identify online shoppers when they visit your store

Imagine a customer journey that begins in the digital world: Debbie has registered with your fashion store on your website, providing first-party information, including her color, size and style preferences. Debbie has also installed your mobile app, so she is already recognized across at least two digital channels since her profile is managed by an underlying CIAM (Customer Identity Access Management) platform that unifies her identity and account information in a central location. Now, let’s say Debbie walks into one of your physical shops. You can prompt her to identify herself using a QR code generated on your mobile app, which can be scanned at a kiosk or by a sales associate with a tablet or point-of-sale (POS) scanner, and which contains specific data points from her existing profile managed by the CIAM platform. Now, the kiosk interface or sales associate can retrieve Debbie’s preferences from her online profile and direct her to the most relevant items currently in stock at that location. It’s no surprise that the conversion rate from this type of identity-driven interaction is likely to be much higher than an anonymous one.

Kick off the relationship in-store, then move it online

Another possible starting point for a new customer relationship is in a brick and mortar location. Let’s say John is purchasing a fishing rod in your sporting goods store but has yet to establish a digital identity with your business. By offering John the option of receiving his receipt via email rather than a paper one at checkout, you deliver a benefit to John in the form of a persistent and easily retrievable record as well as a benefit to your business, since you capture a valuable, identifying data point that can be leveraged to incentivize online engagement going forward. By obtaining consent from John to receive electronic communications such as newsletters or promotional offers, a “lite” account can be created for him in your business’ CIAM platform with historical data already attached based on John’s in-store purchase. Then, by extending value to John based on his love of fishing, such as offering discounts on specialty lures or high-test lines, you can incentivize him to seamlessly convert to a full account through traditional or social registration while learning even more about his needs and preferences.

Leverage location data to optimize real-world experiences

Finally, by integrating data through your SAP C/4HANA suite — you can identify when an authenticated shopper with your web-based or native app on their mobile device enters or passes near one of your physical locations. For example, with proximity DMPs (data management platforms), you have the ability to engage shoppers based on their location. This means that historical, behavioral and preference data from customers’ online profiles can be leveraged to offer relevant offers or notifications to customers as they shop offline, increasing conversion rates and unlocking new ways to connect with shoppers in the real world that mirror their online experiences.

How Does SAP C/4HANA Fit In? It’s All About Identity

A critical component to delivering experiences like these is a robust, flexible and extendable CIAM platform. A centralized CIAM platform can be accessed from any device and integrates seamlessly with downstream technologies such as CRM (customer relationship management), DMP and proximity technologies. This makes it possible to create and track a single digital identity across touch points while managing consumers’ consent and preferences. Therefore, your business can use the information provided in one channel across every other channel in your marketing ecosystem to drive more relevant experiences, long-term brand loyalty and new growth.

Conclusion

If you haven't already addressed your online and offline strategy, don't lose any more time and get started!

Customers are expecting more seamless experiences as they shop. Why not provide it with the tools you have with SAP C/4HANA!