YouNix Fashion, a small brick-to-mortar business, is facing the sales obstacles of not able to expand its customer base beyond its physical location due to the limited online product choices. The owner has decided to have IT consulting firm to develop an e-commerce sales system that not only utilizes business analytics and business intelligence solution to enhance customers’ in-store and on-line shopping experience but also use social computing to expand customer base.
Big data and knowledge management will collect and analyze consumers’ shopping patterns and preferences, get the better insights into shopper behavior, better predict and forecast the market trends, then customize and personalize the products to maximize consumers’ satisfaction to retain and expand the customer base, and increase the company’s revenue.
Social computing is to use social media platforms to conduct e-commerce functions to create a more targeted and personalized shopping experience for customers. It promotes word-of -mouth marketing, increases customer engagement and web traffic and helps retain,and building loyal relationships with customers (Osman, 2018).
The system should be able to collect, store and analyze customer data of consumers’ name, email, address, purchase items and sizes, expending amount, purchase frequency, prefer colors, materials, and styles, the social media used, social media posts, and social followers from in-store, online and social media platforms to predict and forecast the market trend, then utilize the data to adopt personalized and customized products and services to in-store and online customers, and make good decisions for the business. Also, the system will utilize the social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest) to create social conventions and social context, like photographs on the Instagram and Pinterest or videos on Youtube, to reach more potential customers, influence customers’ purchase decisions, to build brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales, and draw more foot traffic to the store and more online shoppers.
For in-store sales, YouNix needs to empower its employees with data to provide a personalized shopping experience. An IT system could integrate customers’ personalized data into the a-point-of-sales system, employees could utilize this tool to make the shoppers’ shopping experience more enjoyable. For example, the employee could send personalized emails letting a customer know their favorite brand is back in-store or invite them to an exclusive event.
YouNix does need to improve its online website with full-category of its in-store products, and enhance the functions with user-friendly system, easy check-out process and secured payment-methods. The in-store and online marketing could utilize social media with promotions, discounts, and company events, encouraging interactions with the customers to build trust, loyal relationship to build brand awareness, and draw more new and potential customers to the store and online shopping (dturenshine, 2017).
Internet and aggressive advanced technology have turned the market into a consumer-driven market, technology is a key means to enhance the overall customer experience. The customers demand real-time information, high-speed access, and quick turn-around solutions. As a result, YouNix has to implement technology into the business process to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the business operation process. To utilize social media to reach more customers and business opportunities and to use technology to communicate with the employees, customers, and business partners in real-time to solve the problems to improve the risk control, and customer satisfaction. So, implement technology in YouNix in-store and its online website to enhance overall customer experience, and lead them to share their satisfaction through social media are the resolutions to YouNix’s current problems.
To enhance customers’ overall shopping experience, the implemented technology shall be able to gather all customers’ data including all demographic info, contact info, and social media posts and followers, then deploy big data to analyze consumers’ shopping patterns and preferences, get the better insights into shopper behavior and market trends, then to design a cohesive user experience for customers at every touchpoint such like the in-store, online website and social media (Wallace, 2018). The employees should be able to utilize the big data to serve the shoppers in a personalized way (e.g. sending email for the items back-to-store, or new item arrival, birthday coupon, flash-sale notice, limited-time discounts, and company events) to maximize their satisfaction so that word-of-mouth marketing could draw more shoppers to the company.
As the key to a good relationship is communication, the technology of social computing should be able to enable YouNix to draw and retain more customers. The technology of social computing is to use social media platforms, which people use to share opinions, insights, experience, and perspectives with each other (Retail it Insights. 2012), to conduct e-commerce functions to drive a better relationship with their consumers. Facebook and Instagram will be two major platforms for YouNix to promote the products and connect with the customers to build a loyal customer base and reach more potential customers through work-to-mouth marketing. For example, Facebook business retail store pages where users can browse and shop without leaving the platform, or “See-Now Buy-Now” tools on Instagram (Osman, M. (2018).
Competitors and Technology
Big data and knowledge management
Zappos is known for its exceptional customer service. 75% of its revenue comes from its repeat customer even though its prices are not cheap (INC. EDITORIAL, INC, 2012). One key technology they used to succeed in customer service is big data. Zappos leverages big data to understand its shoppers via myriad digital touchpoints – from their online purchases to their presence on social networks (Thau, 2015). At Zappos, every customer receives service based on all of his previous interactions with the company. The company logs a customer’s interactions through all social media, websites, and phone. Every customer service representative can access all of this information to assistant the customers’ needs at a personal level. Zappos also uses big data to personalize offers and recommendations, for example to recognize customers’ birthdays and anniversaries. Furthermore, Zappos uses big data to identify and solve the problems at the early stage and make a better decision to improve the products and services, for example, the firm uses analytics software and employees to flag issues to the executives to discover problems and make better decisions on company’s strategies to gain competitive advantage (M., 2019).
Nordstrom’s integration of social channels to its website, app, and physical stores has been a key driver of their online success (Unmetric, 2019). For example, Nordstrom utilized all social platforms to direct traffic to its anniversary sale which is the biggest sales of the year. Nordstrom partnered with 22 Instagram influencers, who have around 100,000 followers, to showcase their outfits which were specifically mentioned in their captions they were from Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. some of these Instagram influencers’ posts received an impressive 50% engagement rate. Nordstrom also collaborates with top fashion bloggers to reach its core target market – millennial women (MediaKix.com, 2019). Social media accelerates that cycle. Influencer marketing and help new trends travel fast, creating rapid consumer demand for hyper-cheap fashions (CBInsights, 2019).
From the technologies Zappos and Nordstrom employed, both gave the companies the competitive advantages to attract the customers. Social computing is a powerful and effective technology to build brand awareness, customer relationships, and to expand customer bases. Moreover, social computing also provides unique customer data to big data analysis to benefit the company with more detailed insight into the market trends and customer demands to customized the products and services to maximize customers’ satisfaction to create customer loyalty.
For YouNix, both technologies will be solutions to their current problems. Its limited customer base could be solved by using social media to reach more customers, bring more shopper traffic into the store or online shopping. And the big data and knowledge management will empower the employees to utilize the customer data to provide customized and personalized customer services to retain repeat customers and to build a brand name as Zappos does. Exceptional customer service will influence purchase decisions via social media platforms.
Big Data and knowledge management
The technology of Big data and knowledge management meets the technology requirement for YouNix to be able to collect the customers’ data from in-store, online shopping and social media platforms to analyze them in a meaningful way to get an insight of customers’ style, preference, shopping behaviors to empower the employees to be able to access this customer information to assist customers and provide customized and personalized customer services to create repeat customers and attract new customers. Big data and knowledge management will also help YouNix to design an efficient online website to speed navigation and check out processes, provide secured payment methods to increase online sales. Big data and knowledge management will also let YouNix make a better decision on the operating business process by monitor customer’s touchpoints at all channels to promote products and services on all channels to meet customers’ needs.
The technology of social computing will meet YouNix’s technology requirement to draw and retain more customers. YouNix could use this technology to promote marketing, share customers’ shopping experience, influence purchase decisions, build brand awareness, and expand customer bases. Some social media do provide the one-click to buy to direct shoppers to the company online web to increase sales.
I would recommend Omnichannel, a cross-channel content strategy that should be adopted to improve the shopper experience and drive better relationships with its customers across points of contact by implement both the technology of big data and knowledge management and the technology of social computing (WikipediA, n.d.). The cross-channel content strategy should be able to create a brand ecosystem to keep customers engaged, and each channel should work in harmony to nurture more sales and engagement (Wallace, 2018).
The challenge for a retailer is to accommodate innovations, engage customers, retain their loyalty, and at the same time, generate profitable growth. Omnichannel is a multichannel sales approach where there is integration between distribution, promotion, and communication channels on the back end. It could create better data collection and analysis, better brand visibility, much cost-effective, and better customer targeting (Stirista, 2020).
Overall, omnichannel marketing provides a seamless shopping experience, no matter where or when the customer is buying. It can be from a desktop, mobile device, or in a brick-and-mortar store (Stirista, 2020).