How Your Web CMS Should Enable a Digital Experience

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Web content management is no longer about managing pages on a website; instead, it’s now at the center of where marketing activities and customer engagement is carried out. Once holding a focus on publishing and management of web content, marketers can now expect CMSs to improve the development and management of entire digital customer experiences. Digital experiences that are driven by content, optimized with data, and delivered across all online channels. Additionally, a modern web CMS will utilize and manage data from CRM, ERP and other applications to deliver unique, personalized experiences.

Consumers expect a seamless digital experience. The following are just a few of the ways your web CMS should be helping to make this a possibility:

Personalized Digital Experiences

Modern CMSs are making it easier than ever for small businesses to go beyond personalized emails to engage customers. They are able to design and content elements across websites, portals, mobile apps and more, create various user personas or user segments, display targeted and contextual content to these different user segments, and personalize the design on the basis of various criteria that has proven to work via analytics. Although it delivers profoundly better results, it is still by no means “easy.” Marketing managers still have their work cut out for them as they test and iterate working with CTOs to outline the depth of personalization while creating a map content to specific user groups and scenarios.

Multi-Channel

Instead of multiple marketing teams taking on efforts to globally promote an array of products and services on a single website, this should be done across various digital properties – microsites, mobile apps, social media, augmented and virtual reality, and more. A modern CMS natively supports an API-first approach to content management that enables multi-channel content authoring, publishing and delivery. Additionally, complete separation of presentation from content and data, and support for any type of UI development framework, combined simplify the task of delivering a wide variety of digital experiences across multiple platforms.

Data-driven

Everything a customer does on your web properties yields insights. This data can then be used to optimize the customer experience.  Because of this, you’ll want to look for CMSs equipped with full support for A/B testing, customer journey tracking, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data. It’s in your best interest to go above and beyond and use CMS that offers intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights along with the administrative capability to take swift actions on these insights by just a few clicks.

Ease of Integration

Your customers view your digital experiences as one entity. Because of this, if you do not integrate with siloed platforms like CRM, Portals, BI, analytics and other key systems and applications, then you’re just spinning your wheels. Your goal of reaching a 360-degree customer view will be in vain.

Modern CMSs enable easy integration by offering out-of-the-box connectors for major CRMs, search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, databases, publishing platforms, analytics, etc. Additionally, you need to be able to easily integrate with existing systems and web applications through APIs.

Next Steps

It is necessary for every company or organization to identify their own unique challenges, marketing objectives as well as their desired business outcomes, goals and expectations. This should be done prior to beginning the journey of selecting and implementing a web CMS. The key is knowing how to use your choice of tools. If you have any questions about how a modern web CMS can support your enterprise’s digital experience, drop us a line at Crafter. One of our professionals will be happy to discuss a solution with you.

7 Web Content Management Predictions for 2017

2016 is squarely in the rearview mirror and we’re off to the races with 2017.  Digital experiences for customers and employees continue to be a top priority for most organizations.  Let’s look at some of our predictions for the coming year.

#1. WCM Migration to the cloud will continue en masse

There’s not much we need to say here, today, 93% of organizations with one thousand (1000) or more employees have at least one IT solution in private and public clouds.  WCM in the cloud has been growing steadily and will continue at an accelerated rate for the next several years.  Today’s WCM vendors need to provide the full range of deployment options from on premise, public and private hosting to Software as a Service. Security and integration continue to be a concern for customers and a limiting factors for some vendors.

#2. Augmented and virtual reality will become mainstream digital channels

Every year we see new channels emerge. The last two years of technical advances and product marketing have brought augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) channels and use cases out of niche territory and into a the public consciousness.  Organizations of all sizes are waking up to the value of these technologies for a wide range of use cases including marketing, training, education, sales aids, gaming, along with many other inclusive, immersive experiences.  In 2017 we’ll see innovative CMS technologies offer the ability to manage and deliver VR and AR content and applications.

#3. The geo-political climate will drive data hosting and security requirements around Personally Identifiable Information (PII) & other personal data

Data security has been a hot topic for a long time but today’s political climate will drive the issue even harder. From on-soil data rules to network security requirements, you can expect much more regulation over the next several years.  The ability to store and retrieve your customer data in/from a distributed, global infrastructure with the proper application and network security capabilities is going to be more important than ever that leverage customer data as a strategic asset.

#4. Beacon / IoT technology is a key component part of delivering digital/physical experiences

The Internet of Things IoT is here to stay. From thermostats, light switches and refrigerators to automobiles, everything is going on-line. The public is becoming more and more comfortable using their mobile device as a way to interact with and control their physical space. Furthermore, beacon, technology is taking hold.  While the previous examples above illustrate your mobile devices and laptops initiating a conversation with an online resource, beacon technology allows the resource to initiate the conversations enabling a much more interactive and reactive experience.  We can expect to see more and more digital / physical convergence built out using beacon technology this year.

#5. Developers and tech ninjas will be key in crafting experiences and will demand agility and process at parity with other kinds of software development.

WCM is often intended as technology to assist non-technical users in the creation of digital experiences.  On the other side of the coin are the developers who extend the CMS to enable the authors and experiences.  Developers have been underserved by the CMS market with often difficult technology and a host of proprietary frameworks.  Given that the experiences we are creating today are more sophisticated than ever, many WCM vendors can expect a backlash from developers.  A WCM in 2017 and going forward needs to be as good for developers and systems/operation teams as it is for authors.  Developers will demand integration with their tools and process if they are going to be able to keep up with the demands they face.

#6. Multi-channel expansion will drive architectures like micro services, CaaS and component based experience.

Like predication #5, we can see that growth and innovation is not only placing demands on WCM vendors for features but it’s driving architecture.  How your CMS is built defines what it can do.  Not all CMS architectures are created equal or have the same amount of flexibility and runway for innovation.  Scale, performance and topology challenges will drive the need for more decoupled, highly scalable architectures that can support both push and pull publishing along with global/remote deployments.  Support for Micro Service architectures, Content as a Service (CaaS) and experience as a service are a must going forward.

#7. Best of breed and integration approach will gain traction all-in-one suites

The pendulum swings one way and then it swings back.  Many large organizations have invested heavily in suite based WCM solutions that are inclusive of a wide array of marketing automation and marketing insight.  Those investments have not panned out for a variety of cost, capability, human resourcing, agility and architectural reasons. Throughout 2016 we saw analysts and organizations waking up to the fact that putting all of your eggs in one vendor basket is dangerous and limiting.  2017 will show much more leverage of best of breed approaches that integrate technologies rather betting on a single vendor.

 

What’s Coming in Crafter CMS 2.5.2

If have been watching our open source Crafter CMS project on GitHub you know we’re just about to release Crafter CMS 2.5.2.  This release of Crafter delivers a number of exciting features as well as small enhancements and bug fixes that are sure to help your team create and deliver more engaging digital experiences! Here is a quick summary of what’s new:

version-diffVersion Display and Version “Diff”

Authors can now easily see the content of previous versions and visually compare or “Diff” two different versions without reverting the content!

crafter-marketplaceCrafter App Store

Implementing Crafter sites just got A WHOLE LOT EASIER!  We’ve added a Crafter App store where you can now download and install plug-ins for Crafter Studio, Crafter Engine and other Crafter components.

deps-in-dialogsSee Calculated Dependancies in Workflow and Publishing Dialogs

Crafter Studio has always calculated dependencies for authors to help make copies, moves, deletes and publishing simple.  Now authors can easily see what dependencies have been calculated.

Additional Updates of Note:

  • Crafter Studio notice on network/connectivity rather than sign out
  • Usability in content type editor
    - Warn user if they save content type with no template
    - Make it easier to get to general content type properties
    - Look and feel/usability improvements
  • Improved Browse for content in Crafter Studio
  • Timezone selection
  • May other small enhancements and bug fixes
  • All documentation moved to Github and Sphinx
  • Project issue tracking moved to Github issues

Crafter is the award-winning Web content and experience management solution that allows leading enterprises to build personalized digital experiences across all online channels. To learn more about the open source Crafter CMS project, connect with our community and download Crafter CMS here.

The Enterprise Edition of Crafter CMS, which includes commercial licenses, production support, cloud offerings and integration services, is available through Crafter Software and its certified partner network.

Why It’s Time to Select a Headless and Content-as-a-Service CMS

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Believe it or not, your enterprise will soon need to move beyond the web. In fact, some companies have already made the move. So, what is stopping your enterprise from moving forward? Richard Jones, perhaps most known for his work as the technical director of Inviga, a London-based tech company specializing in content management systems, e-commerce and digital innovation recently spoke at a tech conference and offered his thoughts on the emergence of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) and just how much it affects the creation of content. At the conference, Jones detailed how CaaS can be positioned as the digital hub of any given enterprise. Yes, even yours. But to add perspective to how to adopt CaaS and Headless CMS, it’s important to have a clearer understanding of what they are exactly. The following explanations should do just that.

Understanding CaaS and Headless CMS
CaaS refers to a use case in which the content on the web is created and written separately from the place it will be used. Its objective is that it will be consumed by a wide range of digital channels such as mobile apps, websites, social networks, virtual reality experiences, among others.

CaaS is only supported by certain, modern content management systems that provides robust APIs on the back-end. It is a component of a headless CMS. Unlike the original concept of a CMS, there is less concern about how the content will be delivered through a website’s pages, it has the single goal of providing content creators the tools to enhance their workflow to a point where content is ready to be consumed in any of a number of CaaS use cases.

Focused Content Creation
Irrespective of the technology they use, enterprises of all industries need to properly address and have a good understanding of their audience.  Not knowing the consumer is one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge for content creators. Additionally, the problem will only worsen as the Internet of Things (IoT) only gets even more embedded into the enterprise.

CaaS can enable the process of content creation for countless applications and devices. This means the content can be shaped accordingly to those likely to consume it. However, customer behavior is constantly changing – much faster than the ability of content developers have to keep up. Because of this, content creators are struggling to meet the needs of customers. There is a huge need to be innovative with the ways content is being brought to the consumer. But the questions remain, how do we present this data out to any given device? What are the possibilities and how might they change?

The Need for a Modern CMS
Organizations need CMS platforms that help them go beyond traditional static page thinking, the truth is, content creators need to think beyond pages, too.

Fueled by Mobile Apps, IoT, Virtual Reality, and other future digital channels, enterprises no longer have a choice — they must move forward despite their struggles with managing effective web presences and their natural reluctance to go beyond the web.  The sooner they make a change to a modern CMS, the better. The change is too dynamic to stop, and enterprises must jump on the bandwagon now to stay relevant and competitive.

To learn how Crafter CMS supports Content-as-a-Service and can prepare your organization for the digital future, contact us today.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

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As an enterprise, you’re very familiar with the calls to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time to best optimize the customer experience. You can credit the focus and investment in digital customer experience to crowd-sourced company and product reviews, numerous forms of social media, and savvy customers connected to companies and their competitors through a variety of digital platforms.

Read on for three important statistics that highlight the opportunities for successful customer experience, along with best practices and tips on how to address them.

1) Loyal customers are seven times as likely to test an offering, five times as likely to buy again, and four times as likely to refer. (Source)

Knowing your audience’s personal preferences and needs goes beyond understanding what products or services they are interested in and the money they’re willing to spend. This understanding of individual preferences is about analyzing behaviors and tendencies—even as they shift over time—to present the most relevant and compelling messages, content, and offerings. Also, leading enterprises are listening to consumers, and they understand what they will get in return for satisfying consumers’ demands.

A modern CMS platform, which serves as the centerpiece of any digital customer experience strategy, can help by converting that insight into action and by offering the right digital experiences in a way that resonates with site visitors each and every time, and collects relevant feedback that reinforces customer loyalty.

2) 94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience (Source)

Consumers have shown their willingness to invest more in the enterprises who deliver a customer experience that matches their expectations. Why do site visitors reward these companies so generously? It’s because they recognize the value of doing business with an enterprise that has taken the time to learn who they are and what they want and created a digital experience that delivers without fail across all devices and channels.

3) By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. (Source)

Marketers are on the front lines when it comes to engaging customers, and they see how important it is to create appealing digital experiences. Everywhere you look, enterprises are vying for your attention; and once they have it, they strive to keep you coming back for more. As different digital platforms emerge, it will get even tougher to stand out from the pack and keep brand loyalty steady. That is why some of the most successful enterprises use personalization to engage site visitors.

So how do they provide this level of attention? Only with a modern CMS platform, built from the ground up to deliver high-performance personalized experiences, that enables marketers to target specific audiences and deliver compelling experiences that authentically connects with customers and ensures brand satisfaction.

Clearly, enterprises that can answer the call to not only meet but exceed the customer experience stand to win big. Simply put, both short- and long-term profits and brand loyalty are at stake. But providing great customer experience requires work. In fact, to get customer experience right, you must have the right technology in place. Explore our white paper: Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web-Experiences to learn about the most modern technology available to you to better engage your customers. Download it today and discover how to deliver modern digital experiences that today’s site visitors expect.

The Reality of Website Personalization

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While by no means a new concept, website personalization is as popular as ever as companies seek to give site visitors a unique experience tailored to their needs and requests. However, tailoring a website to fully engage different types of visitors comes with a few difficulties. The following are three main factors that often make personalization a challenge.

Personalization Takes a Significant Amount of Resources and Time
Although website personalization will ultimately make your company money in the long run, in the short term it takes a lot of time and resources to do it correctly. Think of it this way, if you are personalizing a section on your homepage by audience, you will need to decide how to target each demographic. Then, you will need to create specific content for each audience. Finally, even after those tasks are completed, you are stuck with the additional task of deciding what the overall goal is so you can track the success of the personalized experiences.

After you’ve spent the time doing the above, you need to implement them in a personalization tool. Again, this requires resources and might even be a few days’ worth of work before your site is completely personalized. Once it’s up you and running will need to let it run awhile to let it gain momentum to give you meaningful statistical data. After enough time, you’ll need to go back and evaluate and possibly tweak the content. All of this requires a substantial about of budgeted time and capabilities to be possible. Of course, using a CMS such as Crafter, where the personalization engine is built directly into the platform, makes this effort so much easier than legacy systems.

Reporting Helps Determine Goals
So how do you know whether personalization has really improved your website? That’s when reporting comes to play. Because reporting can vary, knowing what should take priority will help you determine proper goals for your personalization campaign.  In a nutshell, it comes down to conversions — more clicks, downloads, click ratio per audience, and navigation to other sections should all be part of the testing. For e-commerce sites, add shopping cart stats and revenue per customer. Again, nobody said website personalization is easy.

Without realizing how much time it takes to set up and report, many employers simply add the huge task of personalizing the company website onto an employee’s already-busy full-time schedule. This is a really bad idea. Adding personalization to someone’s current job responsibilities without giving it the attention it needs will not yield a successful campaign. Again, having personalization built-in to your CMS platform makes reporting and optimization much more time efficient.

Manage Team Expectations
Website personalization gives visitors to your site a very individual experience, but keep in mind it doesn’t always feel magical on the backend. You may hear people from your team say, “Why can’t we just set up a campaign for this?” (meaning, for every little thing) or “Just run a test!” But from the time it takes to create the content to execute it to testing it to optimizing it, personalizing “everything” just isn’t possible. Laying out how you will be targeting your audience should be established from the beginning, and then you can recycle those groups into new campaigns down the road to help you move faster.

Another expectation you will need to nip in the bud is the fact that personalization won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site. It will, however, keep quality visitors on your site longer, keep them engaged, and ultimately convert visitors into loyal customers. Your leadership team might not be comfortable, yet with the metrics involved with personalization, so you will need to help familiarize them with this type of thinking.

All in all, personalization can be rewarding and the key to success for your company site. But, as you just discovered, it is not easy or quick. To make personalization for your site as quick, efficient, and effective as possible, contact us to learn how a modern platform such as Crafter CMS can help you meet your goals.

 

How to Use Crafter CMS: A Simple Guide for Marketers

“How can Crafter CMS help me achieve my marketing goals?” is a question I receive often. And if you’re like any digital marketer, you want a web content management system that is easy to use and can easily engage site visitors. A platform that you can update without involving the IT department, but advanced enough to allow you to create and modify digital content on your own.

Crafter CMS provides marketers with a platform to create and manage engaging websites, mobile applications, and multi-channel digital experiences, all through a modern suite of tools available both on-premise and in the cloud.

So, how do you make quick edits? And what does this mean for your marketing strategy? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

How to Use Crafter CMS

Ready to get started? We’ll walk you through a few basic steps for leveraging Crafter CMS and fill you in on some neat features along the way.

1) Log into Crafter CMS from any connected device.

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2) Click on the Preview link and we will update an event on our website together.

Below you will notice Crafter CMS lists all your websites in one location, and if you look closely at each site you will see the following links: Preview >> Dashboard >> Live site.

The Preview link allows you to view the live website and get access to your editing tools. Crafter’s Dashboard will reveal any activity or changes made and who made them, along with a complete set of modern editing tools. You see below we actually manage three different websites here at Crafter Software.

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3) Select Edit at the top of your screen

Here we have access to your editing tools located on the left and top of the page with a live view of our website. We will update our main website, http://craftersoftware.com.

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Next we show how to update the Events page on our site that has a listing of events, along with the content and metadata associated with each event.

4) Click the + sign next to Events

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A dropdown template will appear, where you can easily insert the title, date and link for your event. Select Save and Close at the bottom when you are finished.

Want to publish the event? Simply navigate back to the top of the page and click on Approve & Publish; Crafter allows you to either publish now or schedule it for a future date and time.

Pro Tip: You can add personalization at any time to your digital experiences by simply pressing on the wrench at the top of the page and selecting a persona to whom you can personalize the content and experience.

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Let’s now add a press release to the website.

5) First, we navigate to the press releases by locating the About section and clicking on News in the website view. Once there, we select Edit at the top of the page.

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6) Let’s tap the HTML to edit

Here we can edit two different ways, either by a WYSIWYG editor (as shown below) or through an HTML editor.

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7) Edit your HTML in the source editor

We have added new HTML in green to show a new press release we want to publish. We edit the HTML code and once we are happy with it, we select Update and then click on Save and Close at the bottom.

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Result: A new press release for September 2016 and the preview view gives us a view of how it will look and function on our website.

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Happy with the press release edits? Now we can navigate to the top of the page and select Approve and Publish and select the time we would like the news to go live to our targeted audiences.

Congratulations you have learned how easy it is to update content, personalize experiences for particular site visitors and better engage your customers using Crafter CMS.

Are you experimenting with different ways to engage your targeted audiences? Want to learn how Crafter CMS platform can help your marketing efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments below or email us at info@craftersoftware.com.

 

The Power of Great Content APIs

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From Amazon and Twitter to Expedia and YouTube, large companies recognize the value of providing Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) to their systems and continue to invest big bucks in them.  These well-established APIs grant third parties controlled access to their functionality and content, which is essentially like allowing you into a candy shop filled with lollipops and candy bars (content and functionality) and giving you the key (API) to enjoy them anytime you want.

API Facts

Before explaining the value of API, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of these popular systems. The following are a few facts and figures to illustrate just how important APIs are and why so many companies are choosing to use them.

1. APIs allow businesses to build new platforms on scalable and accessible content much faster.

2. Once a maturing API becomes a core capability within a business, numerous opportunities begin to present themselves. Essentially, when it comes to API, it’s okay to start small, while thinking about the bigger picture.

3. Within the first 13 months, Netflix’s API usage grew 37x and currently boasts 33% of the US evening internet traffic.

4. Surprisingly, when building APIs, large teams are not required. Rather, small, flexible and dexterous development teams can equally create large returns on investment.  Simply put, APIs require vision, clear leadership and a story that resonates with stakeholders.

The Value of APIs

As you can easily see, APIs have a distinct value for large and small companies alike. The value of APIs begins with internal consumption use case, rather than the more commonly known public open APIs to attract others from outside. Beefing up the content accessible within your own organization will show benefits very quickly. Consider how easy your projects would be if you could access a system that gave you various kinds of content while using any possible dimension (language, profile, context, user, location, you name it!). The ability to have one simple yet standard and reliable option that gave you access to information would be pretty spectacular, wouldn’t it? The question then becomes, what value are you willing to place on that? The answer is priceless.

The capability to communicate and grant access to the controlled consumption of content both internally and externally within an enterprise is significant to the point that businesses are discovering they almost can’t function without APIs. With APIs as the programmatic stage for content, everything “backstage” is the outcome of the efforts invested in the “service providers” to make that content accessible. Meanwhile, the front stage or “service consumers” are able to focus their efforts on putting the content to the most effective use.

Linking it All Together

A robust content API delivers a definite separation of concerns between those backstage diligently working to structure and develop content, than from those at the front stage chomping at the bit to gain access to the content so they can creatively do amazing things with it.  Needless to say, APIs benefit both service providers and consumers with endless prospects for advancement on either side of the API.

The ultimate goal is to move beyond simply separating the content to effectively moving it so it can be utilized everywhere it needs to be. The benefits are endless and big brands are already seeing the profits. Your business can enjoy the same.

It’s important to keep in mind that APIs are going to get a lot more popular, but APIs require a solid infrastructure.  It’s a programmatic interface to your content.  So if you’re creating a content API, be sure to design a content model from the start that conveys the required level of structure and meaning.

Questions about where to start? Email info@craftersoftware.com and our experts will happily assist.

 

Avoiding Website Performance Bottlenecks

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In a world where multitasking is more prevalent than ever, enterprises are asking more and more from their websites. Unable to keep up, site functionality is exploding while optimization is falling flat. And it’s not only e-commerce sites that are failing at performance. Industries of all types are experiencing web performance bottlenecks caused by slow page load times and sluggish user interaction.

Whether it’s the hefty amount of images, plugins or JavaScript getting fancier, it is clear that some major factors are interrupting the flow of website optimization. With site functionality only continuing to get more complex, resource requests dramatically increasing, and the growing trend toward personalized experiences, performance is taking a huge hit.  Unfortunately, this trend is negatively affecting user retention – ultimately affecting your enterprise’s bottom line.

Yet considering how important a website can be for any given enterprise, it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is not only running fast from the desktop site but from a mobile perspective too. The number of websites still not optimized for a mobile experience is astounding.

People Are in a Hurry Even When They Are Sitting On Their Couch

In the fast-paced era we live in, anything more than three seconds for a page to load is too long. Studies show that potentially upwards of 50% of users click off the site if the page takes too long. Additionally, 30% will jump ship if a shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile.

This leads to lost sales, competitors winning over your customers, and overall missed opportunities. When you consider the the number of visitors, your average revenue per customer taking into account your attainable conversion rate, and then subtract everything lost from a website bounce rate of 40% when your site loads slowly, you can quantify the amount of lost revenue pretty quickly.

Increase Brand Engagement

Your brand will be much more likable if you offer an equally satisfying, personalized experience for both mobile and desktop sites. Whether a user visits your site from their smartphone or desktop, the experience should be optimized for functionality and brand consistency, so it fosters trust and affinity with your users. Most users regularly go between devices so if you are not able to provide what they need than they are more likely to go to a competitor rather than wait until they get back to their desktop to make a purchase. Not optimizing your site results in lost opportunities and losing customers permanently to competitors.

Optimize Your Site, and Business will Grow

To keep your users engaged and continuously coming back, you need to optimize your site performance and a modern content delivery solution is the most effective way to pull this off. Despite many performance optimization techniques manually performed by developers, hand-coding pages for performance is specialized, time-consuming work. When it comes to intensely involved sites with hundreds to even thousands of dynamic components per page, this can be an eternal task. As both browser requirements and page requirements continue to develop the work can seem never ending.

Therefore, consistently faster page loads and a more reliable site starts with a blazing fast content delivery platform. We built the world’s fastest dynamic content delivery solution with Crafter Engine, which now serves some of the largest and fastest sites on the globe.

Think your website performance needs a boost? Contact us at info@craftersoftware.com for guidance or download our white paper Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web Experiences to learn more!

The Future is Now: Virtual Reality Transforming Retail

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When it comes to brick and mortar retail, every inch of retail space is crucial to keep the business booming. So it’s no wonder that Happy Family, an organic children’s food manufacturer, decided to turn to virtual reality to help them gather data from 800 shoppers. Turns out this method isn’t just working for them, but it’s working for many other retailers too. It’s quickly becoming the future of retail with an international reach.

While it may seem somewhat futuristic, the truth is scenarios in which using virtual reality are beneficial, isn’t that far reaching. Combining virtual and augmented reality are already transforming major retail locations in every way — from the aisles, to store design and signage.

The Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Sometimes augmented reality and virtual reality are used interchangeably. However, there are significant differences that you need to know when using or discussing these technologies. Augmented reality is a blend of real life and virtual reality. In other words, the consumer is still in touch with the real world around them, yet interacts with virtual elements. Virtual reality, on the other hand, transforms the user into a different world. Goggles or some type of headset are required for experiencing virtual reality.

Virtual Reality is Here to Stay

Virtual reality is not just a hot technology item for gamers, and from the data, it doesn’t appear as if virtual reality is just a fad. While VR has been around for a long time, it has matured to something that benefits our work and home lives in addition to being fun for entertainment purposes.

With virtual reality constantly improving, it’s time for retailers to honestly consider adding the technology to the way they do business. It’s already been proven that brands who have embraced virtual reality have attracted a wider user base. In a world where technology is constantly evolving, consumers are continuously demanding more from brands. Keeping up with technology is how brands can stay among and ahead of their competition. Consumers are beginning to expect virtual and augmented reality as they do their online shopping.

V-Commerce is the Next Step

Clearly, a complete move to v-commerce is what lies ahead. Although the idea of new hardware may seem overwhelming to businesses, it really shouldn’t be. The concept is constantly evolving as is the equipment.  Because of this, there are multiple options with devices at different price points and even applications that allow smartphones to use augmented reality and virtual reality.

With this omni-channel strategy, consumers will be able to do everything from trying on clothes to looking at products or ingredients. With this technology, retailers will be able to deliver an in-store experience to users shopping online. The scenarios for using virtual reality are endless and the benefits for business success are priceless. From up-selling to cross-selling, virtual reality will allow consumers to engage more with the products and will help to create a much more personal experience. This will in turn, increase sales – a reality every business owner can get behind.