By Carlos Bravo

Retail is now synonymous with customer experience

Online shopping, customer experience, retail, digital transformation, online shopping, retail industry

Getting closer to customers is key, says leading Aussie retailer

Retail is going through a metamorphosis on many fronts. As stores’ role is changing and online shopping is now commonplace, the aim for retailers is to create experiences where all channels serve customers seamlessly.

Customer expectations are constantly evolving and consumer brands need to find sophisticated ways to reach their customers. This is all about data, and finding the best solutions to optimise the experience online and in store.

Retailers want to build loyalty, and leverage the years of foot traffic through their stores.

With the role of store changing, how do retailers take the best out of their store experience and translate this online? Hear the latest insights from Carlos Bravo who is the account executive at Simplus, and specialises in the retail market segment. He shares his insights from conversations with a leading national Australian retailer.

Status of retail vs online shopping

Retailers are always on the cutting edge of change, and it is timely to get a temperature check on changes that are emerging in the retail sector. Trends in the retail space right now in the wake of the pandemic are around an all important shift to be closer to the customer, with innovation in loyalty, creating a seamless experience both online and offline.

The battle is no longer on price, it is about the experience

With multiple touchpoints in physical stores, online spaces and social media channels, retailers are all grappling to find a single view of their customers. 

We know that customers who have an outstanding personal experience, end up spending more with that brand. So the most important shifts are taking place in capturing the hearts and minds of customers by winning them over in seamless customer experiences. Both online and in store.

Refocusing on the customer

In conversation with an iconic Australian retailer, there is a clear shift towards customer experience. The last 18 months have shown how important it is to stay customer-centric. 

This retailer recently went through an exercise over six to eight months. Their CEO championed the customer project, and asked the team to actively develop the future for the brand. It was done in a collaborative way where everyone from all parts of the organisation were involved. 

With a primary focus on customers, no matter the channel, it has morphed in a living strategy. The team has mapped out customer journeys and defined the business vision, unlocking the roadmap for technology as well as business objectives.

Most notable is the shift in mindset that is sweeping through the organisation.

Seamless omnichannel supersedes siloed multichannel

Shifting to an omnichannel approach is a natural extension of excellent customer experience. Retailers start thinking about the customer expectations, how to deliver the same experience across channels as opposed to siloed experiences in each channel. 

For example, someone walks into a store and has a great experience, but they don’t have the product in store, or the team member is not able to find a nearby store to get the product, or even better offer to order the product for home delivery. That’s a lost opportunity.

Omnichannel is about bridging these gaps and building a seamless experience regardless of how customers move in and out of different channels. After all, customers need to be able to move seamlessly through any of the other channels and have the right level of information available at all touch points, whether it’s an online channel, a person in the store, or on the phone with a customer service rep.

Of course, that’s much easier said than done, especially when there are legacy platforms where out-of-sync information sits in silos.

Reengineer your connection with your customer

Listening to insights from a leading retailer, it’s clear they’ve benefited from a firm focus on the customer journey – in fact, everything revolves around the customer. This flows throughout the business to strengthen the brand and improve customer loyalty.

Naturally this means smart use of rich data sets to make the right decisions and offer a quality customer experience. An example from a national retailer talks to the benefits of implementing Service Cloud across their call centre. In the past, if a customer called at 10am, there was no way of knowing they had called. 

Fast forward to today, their team can access the right information at the right time for the customer. Everything is tied into the telephone system. Customer service team members can bring up customer sales, talk about recent experience in the local store. It’s a completely different customer experience. And it’s all enabled through the right technology. 

Data unlocks unique experiences for each customer

Now that purchases have increased online, service teams have more information than if someone walks into and out of the store.

Service teams can now suggest products that might suit cross-selling and upselling. This practice starts adding to the top line rather than functioning as traditional customer service – a major pivot to a more strategic, revenue-driving role. That’s the power of having great data and sharing it with the people who are interacting with the customer.

Sustainability in retail

Ethical sourcing for products is top of mind for customers, especially younger customers. Sustainability illustrates that customer demand drives retailers and shows the power of the customer.

Retailers are looking at two things: ethical sourcing which takes into consideration packaging and materials, and day to day operations. So the paperless store is another one of those initiatives where we see a lot of processes being digitised. That has a real impact on the amount of paper and other materials being used in stores. 

It’s good for the environment and there’s a cost saving as well: a win-win. That trend is going to get stronger.

Most efficient use of data

One of the challenges for retailers starting out is to sift through which data is important to track. To get the most from this technology, however, retailers need to reengineer their business processes and think in new ways.

Get in touch with the team at Simplus to map out a solution for you.

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