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With consumers demanding greater convenience, more speed, and expertly personalized shopping experiences, the retail sector is undergoing huge transformation. MuleSoft’s 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report outlines the challenges and opportunities for retailers on their journey to meet modern consumers’ expectations.

How to develop connected retail experiences for a digital storefront

With the availability of 24/7 online shopping, next-day delivery, and curbside pick-up, almost three quarters (72%) of retailers’ customer interactions have gone digital. This increase in digital transactions means retailers have more applications and a higher volume of data about their customers than ever before. 

This presents a huge opportunity for those able to connect it all together seamlessly: to unlock a powerful source of intelligence that can be used to create personalized shopping experiences that keep customers coming back for more. But creating this level of connectivity is no easy feat. 

Holding back retail transformation

Retailers’ efforts to create seamlessly connected experiences for their customers, continue to be hampered by data being stored across disparate systems. Limited integration between customer-facing channels and back-office SaaS applications, legacy systems, and databases is generating data silos that are difficult to unite. To put this into context, on average, retailers are using more than 1,000 individual applications compared to just under 900 a year ago. However, only 27% of those applications are integrated. 

To grow in today’s competitive environment, retailers need to unlock and harness their data more effectively. This means integrating a growing number of apps and data sources to automate business processes and create the seamless shopping experiences that customers expect.  

Cashing in on APIs to leverage data

To drive seamless, real-time, personalized shopping experiences, retailers should look to API-led connectivity. Using APIs, retailers can unlock their data assets by accessing it from any source, integrating it, and exposing it in a way it can be securely consumed by new applications and audiences. 

This allows retailers to create connected shopping experiences for their customers, unlock data-driven insights that help to grow their revenue, and provide the flexibility they need to deliver new technology-fuelled innovation in the future. 

Creating a single view of the customer

API-led connectivity also allows retailers to access a single view of the customer – giving them a holistic portrait of their consumers, painted through the seamless integration of data. 

This allows retailers to better analyze and customize future customer interactions to increase the likelihood of them making purchases. 

For instance, a retailer might be able to detect when a reliable customer is hesitating over a purchase and respond by sharing personalized discounts or information that helps the customer find what they need in real-time.

A single customer view puts the customer in the center of everything a retailer does while allowing retailers to minimize costs, simplify business processes, and gain a strategic edge over their competition. 

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Winning in a digital future

By prioritizing a modern digital transformation strategy that combines integration, API management, and automation, retailers can create seamless and connected shopping experiences that help them stand out among a sea of competitors in a fast-paced and unforgiving market. 

Want to learn more? Download MuleSoft’s full 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report.