With the pandemic introducing an e-commerce renaissance as well as omnichannel receiving a lot of attention, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Ola Williams has said it is the customer that lies at the heart of these new trends and will ensure their staying power.
The country manager revealed that in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Microsoft retail customers reported that online sales brought in between two and five per cent of revenues before the pandemic.
With an increase of 30 per cent, she disclosed that the Nigerian ecommerce market contributed to the worldwide growth rate of 29 per cent in 2021.
According to her, the place of e-commerce in the Nigerian economy is being boosted by gradual transition of informal retailers into the online shopping community.
Williams noted that in a world where consumers have more choices than ever before, retailers would need to work harder to maintain customer loyalty.
Tools that help to automate loyalty programmes and provide insight into customer behaviour, she remarked, will help brands spend more time innovating products and services for their customers.
She explained that though loyalty programmes are valuable assets for retailers looking to personalise customers’ experience, building loyalty and trust can be completely derailed by a single cyberattack, which is why any sort of data management should always be paired with a security solution.
“Another growing trend is the conscious consumer. Sustainability has become a major priority for customers, with many choosing to spend more money with brands that demonstrate their commitment to ethical, environmentally-conscious products and services. The right tech solutions can provide retailers with more transparency within their supply chains so as to ensure they meet these consumers’ demands.”
“It is through technology that retailers can gain visibility from their supply chains and demonstrate transparent practices to their customers.”
Williams disclosed that to help their retail customers on their digital transformation journey, Microsoft has developed Cloud for Retail technology, a tailored set of industry-specific cloud solutions.
According to her, by working closely with retailers and their partners, Cloud for Retail helps maximize data, enhances the customer experience, optimizes supply chains and empower employees.