Retail 2.0: Are your systems built for the new era?

Are your systems built for the new era?

2023.09.21 - Retail & eCommerce - Bonnie MacTavish

Customers move fast,
how does commerce keep up?

Adapt or die. It’s never been more relevant. And staying the same has never been more of a threat to retail businesses.

With 9.4 million Aussie households making an online purchase in 2023, it’s time to turn threat into opportunity.

During the pandemic, in 2020 Aussies spent $50.46 billion online, and each month saw 1 million additional households buying online when compared to 2019. Covid-19 created new behaviours which look unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels as people become comfortable with their new digital habits.

At a global level, Covid-19 has only accelerated the changes for a sector already in transformation. E-Comm sales are expected to increase by almost 17% between 2010 and 2024.

And although in Australia, interest rate increases, inflation, and the current cost of living crisis is curbing Aussie spending, retail trade is predicted to return to pre-Covid growth rates by 2024 - with online spending reaching a historical trajectory.

It’s also clear the customer is in charge, with a steady stream of new purchase behaviours at the ready. Retail has moved from a push to a pull model, and brands need to be ready to engage in this new reality.

Brands must be thinking not about what’s next, but what’s the future?  Because the future is now, and businesses need to harness it or watch their competitors streak ahead. 75% of company leaders agree that the global pandemic has compressed the timeline for acquiring new technologies as companies seek new ways to reach customers.

Unify your business and operations as they evolve, shaped by current global forces

Scalable and flexible architectures to power fast solutions for retailers, through Covid and beyond

The global pandemic radically altered life as we know it. Some brands were luckier than others (toilet paper & hand sanitiser, anyone?), but more forward-looking brands have been able to navigate this change, accelerating some of their digital plans and pivoting the business to solve real customer needs.

With the rate of change now a constant whir, your brand’s digital systems need to be built upon a flexible foundation, so that it can adapt as your brand grows, changes, or diversifies its offering.

With the pandemic forcing people to stay at home, restricted to their local government area, Sonoma bakeries suddenly lost customers living beyond a 5km radius. Nightjar partnered with them to bring to life a ‘Sonoma Uber’, utilising the brand’s own delivery trucks to pilot a home-delivery service, to ensure loyal Sonoma customers can still enjoy their fresh products in lockdown. Nightjar were able to build a system for Sonoma that launched the test program, as well as scale into the future, as the program expands to service their entire retail footprint.

Sonoma website delivery order with delivery time selection

Another brand which extended their offering to keep in touch with their guests was luxury accommodation QT Hotels. When the majority of their hotels closed to the public, QT wanted a way for their guests to experience a bit of their signature luxury and hospitality from their own homes.

‘QT at Home’ was born, a service offering delectable feasting menus, cocktails, wine and spirits from the QT Cellar, available for pickup.  We created a mobile-first, seamless checkout experience for guests, who can browse by hotel to see each QT’s unique food offering, as well as quirky boutique items to bring a smile to any home. Phase 2 will see the expansion of delivery options and even more menu items as customers embrace fine dining at home. What was once a Covid-induced necessity, will become a pleasurable choice as expectations shift.

Speed is essential to success. With a nimble, API-led approach, we help retailers adapt ahead of the market and focus on key customer priorities. So whatever the future holds, a flexible architecture ensures your business moves with it. Particularly with ‘bricks and clicks’ - retailers with both physical stores and an online presence - enjoying the biggest share of online spend since stores re-opened, an API-led approach helps unify your systems and enables easy future enhancements for your business needs.

Simplify your customer data

Research and customer data deepens personalised experiences for both brands and their customers

We live in the age of data, but figuring out which of your brand’s data is meaningful is not always clear. Understanding which information will be necessary to drive customer engagement, loyalty and sales is paramount. Qualitative research to understand rapidly changing consumer mindsets, combined with behavioural data create a holistic picture of your customer and can shape their digital experience.

McKinsey found that 71% of customers want businesses to provide personalised experiences. And 76% are frustrated when this does not occur.* Getting it right means making sure you have reliable data inputs from the beginning - so good UX and a simplified customer experience is key.

Vivid Sydney is the largest festival of its kind in the world, meaning it can be tricky for festival visitors to plan and navigate. Before the lights come on every year, we ensure each touchpoint on the user journey is accounted for to make sure relevant events (of the 400+ taking place over 6 weeks) find their way to the most receptive audience. Setting favourite event types, locations, music genres, or kids events, means visitors are able to find something for them with minimal stress, and that the platform learns and can recommend other events to match their tastes. Integrating with the ticketing platform, visitors can also be alerted to when a favourite event is selling fast, and prompted to purchase tickets.

Vivid 2023 MyVivid personalised onboarding mobile screens

When it comes to driving recurring revenue, subscriptions are an efficient way to do this, while simultaneously playing to the customer desire for convenience. We worked with Pernod Ricard on their biggest venture into the D2C space, building a new brand and content-driven platform to engage, inspire, and convert. By engaging the existing databases for their fine wine brands and looking at purchase history, we encouraged loyalists to experience an improved subscription offering on the platform - allowing them to mix and match between their favourite Pernod Ricard brands and encouraging exploration to deepen their relationship with the organisation. Activation of the database is also made simpler, and more secure, by having one source of truth for customer data.

How does your customer data shape your business decisions? And could it be doing more?

VNTNR shop

House of Heat is a sneaker blog for those in the know, wanting to keep on top of latest releases and be ready to pounce when it's time to cop the latest pair. Sneakerheads need a way to find when and where to purchase the latest drops as they happen, because with limited releases, ‘too late’ doesn’t cut it in the sneaker game.

We crafted a new, digital-first brand identity, rebuilt the website, and built an accompanying app setting brand and model preferences, and switching on notifications for the latest drops, sneakerheads are updated via app notifications and can click straight on affiliate links, giving them their new kicks fast, and driving House of Heat’s revenue. Conversions were key, and House of Heat wanted to be the easiest place to buy, so our UX focussed on minimal clicks to get to the affiliate links. To further enhance the customer and House of Heat editor experience, we are working on creating a fully automated referral link system with the various sneaker stores. With this solution, it means that as soon as the stores release a sneaker, it updates on the House of Heat platforms - with 0 human interaction required.

House of Heat homepage
House of Heat Personalise

There is no online or offline

The question we’ve been asking ourselves, even before Covid drove eCommerce to incredible new heights, is how we can drive meaningful connections between the online and offline experience? To captivate audiences and provide unique interactions, brands must exist in both worlds, just as their customers do. Being able to combine the sensory and human connection of visiting a store with an ultra-personalised digital layer is an incredibly powerful and memorable experience for your customer. Playing across the end to end experience is where brands win.

The Vivid Sydney festival requires an extended period of visitor engagement, and the challenge is to stay relevant the entire time. There’s the planning phase when events are announced months in advance, the booking phase once tickets go on sale, right through to the on-ground experience at the glittering festival. Our mobile platform partners the user across their journey - from personalising their event calendar during the planning phase, to beacon technology at the festival precincts to alerts visitors to favourited installations near them. Vivid attendees can choose audio trails from the mobile site to guide them through the festival. Integrated mapping tech also allows users to find the closest food trucks, amenities, and accessible facilities. Technology only serves to heighten the physical experience, adding a layer of convenience and encouraging visitation to multiple events.

Map Filters
Vivid on the ground map
Woman walking through atmospheric room
Woman walking through atmospheric room at Rhythm of Nature photoshoot

Armadillo rugs are incredibly unique, hand-crafted and sustainable rugs, woven by artisans in India. The launch of a new collection is usually an in-person experience, with press, trade partners, and loyal customers all invited. With social distancing measures meaning the need to limit physical contact, we worked with Armadillo to create an interactive online experience, Rhythm of Nature, blurring the lines of physical and digital. Showcasing the new Ellipse collection in a sensory showroom walkthrough, viewers could interact with each piece and see the inspiration behind it through the microsite. This experience also allowed global reach, extending the immersion well beyond just those who would usually attend a function in the Sydney showroom.

Redsbaby compare
reds baby choose colour

For Redsbaby, an online only retailer of premium prams, strollers, furniture and baby goods, their digital platform is their core conversion channel. But as people want to touch, feel and try such important, big-ticket items, their demo days play a big role in driving people down the conversion funnel. We created immersive product pages which brought to life all the little details parents are looking for - fabrics, fixtures, safety features - in 3D visuals, which then encouraged shoppers to book their in person demo.

Your customers no longer delineate between online and offline - how could your brand stay with them throughout the journey?

How could your digital ecosystem be better performing?

Retail moves fast, and so do we.

Nightjar’s connected commerce is built for the new era. We help businesses change ahead of the times, where your business needs to be. If you think it's time to identify and embrace opportunities in your category, get in touch. We're ready to reimagine your retail journey.

Get in touch: Christine Sultana, Managing Director
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