Customer experience has been at the forefront of retail marketing for years, but 2019 brings a new shift for all brands. Exceptional customer experience is no longer an optional extra for retailers, it should be a given. Giving your customers a great experience no longer sets you apart from the competition, simply put without out it your business is at risk.
2018 saw some serious fallout with retail giants such a Toys “R” Us, Sears and many others hitting the wall. Looking at why these businesses failed, it wasn’t a lack of demand for their products but consumers opting to buy elsewhere, from businesses they could get a better experience with.
Omnichannel customer experience
With the rise of online shopping many retailers faced the task of breaking down silos, especially between online and in-store, retail and wholesale, but how many have extended this to their customer experience?
Consumer expectations are changing, with greater emphasis on the brand experience. Retailers need to shift their strategy to drive retail as a service, it’s no longer a simple transactional exchange. What will set brands apart in 2019 will be their ability to really connect with their communities and create a seamless personalised experience, regardless of channel.
With so many touchpoints available to consumers, brands need to focus on making that experience feel the same across them all. The current trailblazers leading the customer experience revolution are focusing on far more than the product and the transaction. They are creating engaging experiences, encouraging people to spend time with them, come back frequently and increase their interactions.
This evolution has to be adopted across the entire business. Long gone are the days that retail jobs are what you do while you’re waiting for a proper job. In-store and online teams are ambassadors for the brand and are integral to creating this epic experience for customers. Consumers are seeking experiences rooted in genuine engagement, empathy and emotional intelligence.
Using data to drive authentic experiences
Data to drive sales has been a dominant topic in the industry for years. It’s no secret understanding more about how people shop and buy helps drive sales. Little discussed topic is how to use your data more effectively to create a meaningful experience for your customers, enhance all interactions with customers across all channels and innovate the experiences you give people.
Customer insight should go beyond the ABC1 profiles. Who are your actual customers? Don’t just look at where they live, how old they are or what they buy, ask what they care about, what motivates them, how they view you as a brand and how they view themselves as people. Understanding the people behind the purchase will help create these authentic experiences.
The more you know the more personal you can get. Empower your customers through a personalised experience. The daddy of personalisation is of course Amazon, but this hyper personalisation is no longer restricted to the big retail giants. Think beyond simple passive product recommendations, use the data you have to proactively provide consumers with recommendations based on your actionable data.
If you’d like to know more about creating an authentic, engaging experience for your customers across all channels, get in touch.