Consumers don’t make retailers’ lives easy; they can be demanding, inconsistent in their buying habits and sometimes have a “single mistake and you’re done” approach to loyalty. Smart retailers have worked to build more personal relationships with their customers as a way to better understand individual shopper needs and expectations, so they can more closely align offerings to maintain brand loyalty and incentivise repeat buying.
The industry, in response to this need, has seen the addition of Chief Customer Officers and Customer Experience Directors to ensure the customer is more central to retail strategy and process decisions. Because, ultimately, without happy customers, profits take a plunge.
However, adopting a customer-centric business model just about identifying who your customers are. For it to work, retailers must offer a more personal service to their shoppers. For example, if shoppers want speedy and convenient levels of service, then an efficient, frictionless mobile POS system can enable queue busting and self-scan options so shoppers can complete transactions and quickly get in and out of the store.
In addition, retailers need to analyse and action available data and insights for a better understanding of their customers’ previous shopping history at each potential touch point – be it in-store, mobile, online or another channel – and then use these insights to deliver a customised experience for that individual in the future. For example, it could be a product recommendation based on past purchases when using in-store technology devices or rewarding a customer’s loyalty with an “on the spot” promotion.
This level of customer service delivery is something that consumers have come to expect. A quick search for research about consumer expectations shows some not so surprising trends. In many instances, shoppers are willing to give some personal information in exchange for discounts, perks and personalised offers.
To maintain high levels of customer experience, retailers need to recognise exactly how their shoppers want to be communicated with, what they consider “too personal”. Getting this right is crucial; if customers feel let down by an interaction with a brand, they are unlikely to return.
The impact of making the wrong interaction with a customer at any point in their journey could be serious – whether it’s that their email goes unanswered, they can’t get through to the customer service line or the in-store staff can’t help them. Investment in ensuring that customer service and experience is paramount will pay off as customer loyalty and advocacy strengthens and profits soar.
Many retailers struggle to build cohesive shopping journeys. Working with a trusted technology advisor to create shopping journeys that are seamless, personalised, consistent and meet shopper expectations helps improve customer satisfaction and increase the probability of long-term shopper loyalty.
How is your organisation ensuring your customer journey keeps you connected with your shoppers in the right way?