From entering the store/browsing the website till the moment of commitment and purchase, customer experience management in the retail industry plays a major role in the system to ensure that every goal of the company is met. The modern customer experience in retail requires retailers to work on comprehensive data to provide end-to-end real-time assistance to their customers, as opposed to the face-to-face engagement in the earlier days. The retail industry’s core fundamentals have remained the same while they have been following trends such as digitization routinely and constantly evolving. However, it seems to have not been hitting the mark in most cases.
At a crucial moment like this companies are turning towards the best practices in customer experience to maintain their routine outcomes and build brand loyalty in an increasingly difficult market. Customer experience (CX) which was earlier satisfied by mere conversation is primeval. The experience-based retail market is now resulting in companies focusing beyond providing cheap products and a wide range.
Time and again it has been proven that customers would rather pay for a better customer experience than any other benefit. Simply put – customers are looking for more than just a product when they walk into a store. A transparent, convenient and multifold customer experience can make a retailer stand out from its millions of competitors. All through some small yet distinct measures.
Top challenges faced by the retail industry that can be fixed through CX:
Essentially retail is all about customer service which resonates with customer experience. Omnichannel solutions through effective customer service is the key to a good customer experience in a dynamic market like retail. There are hundreds of options on the market and customers no longer feel the need to limit themselves when shopping. The number of retailers has expanded exponentially in recent years. Customers now also have a wealth of information online before they make a commitment. Shoppers spend a lot of time researching their purchases simultaneously considering the customer experience for a seamless transaction. Hence brand loyalty requires an innovative and fresh customer experience strategy that can build trust in existing and potential customers.
The customer experience strategies are now ranging across pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. Retailers want to make the best use of mobile, social and self-service along with providing excellent customer support. Every communication touchpoint is bound to be personalized by gaining information on the customers across every channel. Pushing relevant campaigns, offers and educating customers on various products increases customer-centricity, brand-loyalty and brand value.
Calculated and honest customer experience can swiftly change a retailer’s outcomes through customer advocacy, brand loyalty, repurchases, word of mouth and more. Retail businesses must tackle both ends, a perfect concoction of the physical and digital world. A customer may purchase a product online but would always want to converse with an agent to showcase grievances which must be handled with utmost care and consideration to avoid even the spark of a negative review.
Retailers that were ahead of their time estimated the value of incorporating and providing customers with a digital experience. The digital experience that has taken a permanent place instead of the temporary solutions that the pandemic had brought along. Customers in the retail industry now want to have an inclusive yet distinct shopping experience. They want a digital experience which still feels in-store; an omnichannel experience which varies with every approach.
What used to be a face-to-face engagement has now turned into an amalgamation of independent and supported events. Companies are using AI and VR to help customers try on products before purchase in a safe, contactless manner. Most stores now offer online purchase and at-store pick-ups to avoid contact and engagement while making sure shoppers are satisfied. Viewing products in 3D in AR (Augmented Reality) is also a technique most companies are mastering. Optimizing websites for an easy purchase is an ongoing process for major retailers to increase sales. Delivery from curbside pickups to the front door is part of the way companies are trying to redesign their customer experience strategies.
No-contact payment procedures, extra care for hygiene and incredibly smooth flowing buying processes is what retailers are targeting to provide the best in-store shopping experience for their customers. With e-commerce sites taking up the majority of purchases and store closures occurring at a rapid pace, retailers are taking a strong look at what changes they can adapt to in the customer experience space.
Preparing beforehand for an optimized customer experience journey is the only way to access and minimize customer experience shortcomings for a retailer. Retailers must incorporate multiple methods in which a customer feels valued. Stocks should be visible online; hygiene should be assessed prior to the customer arriving at the store – online. Customers, post-pandemic, are looking for a focused experience at a store with hassle-free availability, faster support and easy checkouts.
In retail industry news the National Retail Federation (NRF), through an interview, reported recently about the ever-evolving changes in the customer while the core fundamentals of the retail industry remain the same and retail stores essentially wanting to impact the customer journey and brand values while working on the art and science that customer experience is. The NRF also talks about the rapid innovations in customer expectations which are some of the growing issues in the retail industry. However, these can be solved over time with personalized customer experience management.
Our CX solutions focus on all-round customer experience transformation through surveys, metrics, analytics and auditing by using the CXM framework to combine physical measurements with digital Platformation™ capabilities. We are dedicated to finding the right customer experience strategy that can lead to a competitive advantage.
Sonata GBW is a global technology company specialising in customer experience management, platform-based digital transformation, supporting businesses to become connected, open, intelligent and scalable. A global coverage of 105+ markets with over 27 years of experience as a market leader through extensive measurement capabilities, powerful and intuitive reporting and analytics platforms gives us the leverage to improve customer experience. It has presence across USA, Canada, EMEA and APAC regions. If you would like to know more on how we can help you, please fill out the business enquiry form below.