We continue our e-Commerce blog theme for this month with a Q&A with Faisal Masud, Executive Vice President, Global E-Commerce, at Staples. Faisal answers a few questions about some top-of-mind trends in the e-Commerce space. If you are a MITX member and interested in being a guest blogger, please e-mail me at taylor [at] mitx [dot] org.
Faisal is responsible for leading online and digital growth at Staples. He has over a decade of digital experience, building end-to-end, global e-commerce solutions that have driven growth and improved the customer experience.
Has mobile had a positive or negative impact on e-Commerce? How is this space evolving and growing along with the technologies associated with it?
Mobile has had a very positive impact on e-Commerce as it further enhances the customer experience and provides the instant gratification that customers seek when shopping online. Mobile is accelerating rapidly and in terms of share of wallet will grow in double digits for most retailers. Mobile commerce will continue to push the boundaries of mobile payments and what an omnichannel (across web, store and mobile) retail experience means, something that Staples is looking to enhance.
How have loyalty programs improved with online integration? How do social media, big data, etc. strengthen these programs?
Loyalty programs are good and can lead to good customer retention rates, but ultimately customers want the best selection, price and availability. Those are the real key inputs to a successful online business.
What role does personalization play in e-Commerce? Do customers expect this now or is it still something that makes a brand standout?
Personalization is key to customer engagement. Manual campaigns will under perform against automated ones and technology plays a critical role in converting customers via personalization. It's a basic need all ecommerce businesses must address.
Are brands leaning towards a seamless integration across all shopping channels or are there benefits to unique experiences on each platform?
That's the goal for most brick and mortar retailers, as customers want seamless choices in purchasing and we need to be agonistic to how and when customers buy. Customers need to be provided with a true omnichannel experience so they can decide how to shop instead of the retailer dictating the terms.