Benefits of personas in multichannel commerce

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United Arab Emirates retailers deal with more than a hundred nationalities. This means different cultures and various shopping habits, sensitivities and aesthetics preferences. When designing an e-commerce website, an app or even an email blast, it is essential to know and understand your target user. Unfortunately, there is no “common user” and different customer groups must be addressed differently. It is even truer in the UAE, where it is unlikely the designer shares the same cultural background as his/her target audience.

This is where personas come into play: personas are fictional characters representing typical users or customers; they help shape profiles based on needs, motivations and desires. As we wrote in a previous blog on User Experience, creating personas can greatly facilitate decision-making, and also reduce errors and rework hours traditionally associated with design concept misinterpretations as part of multichannel projects.

In this article, we will not delve into what personas are, as there is plenty of literature on this topic, but focus more on their benefits for a multichannel business, in particular in the UAE.

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Can luxury brands play catch-up in an aggressive multichannel world?

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Luxury brands have been reluctant to adopt digital commerce

For years, prestige goods companies have looked down on online sales channels, which they have perceived as inappropriate for an industry which is all about high-quality and exclusivity.

“We think for luxury it’s not right. It’s good in countries that don’t have the shop nearby.”

– Miuccia Prada, chairperson and Creative Director of Prada Group, 2013.

Many preferred keeping luxury in the rarefied world of high-end boutiques and department store glossy storefronts. They have mostly been using the online channel to showcase the brand, through institutional websites with limited product content and information.

Whilst many retailers have hesitated to adopt e-commerce for fear of store sales cannibalization, the reluctance of premium brands seems to have been mainly driven by a somewhat conservative view of the luxury shopping experience. This view has been largely supported by the stereotype of e-commerce as a discount channel on which it is difficult to perceive and experience the product quality.

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The new In-Store Experience

The role of the store is being reinvented to showcase, entertain and deliver a personalized experience through customer centricity and digital technology

Photograph of Regent Street Burberry Store

Burberry Regent Street flagship store aims at bridging physical and digital worlds.

The rise of the connected consumer and e-commerce is profoundly reshaping consumer expectations and behavior.
To remain relevant, retail and telecom are reinventing the role of their stores in the customer journey, turning them into entertaining shopping destinations.
New breeds of “flagship stores” and “stores of the future” have therefore emerged, making extensive use of digital technology to deliver unique brand experiences. Often articulated around lifestyle, they aim at reinventing the shopping experience by showcasing, entertaining and personalizing interactions.

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