Constant improvement and innovation of the customer experience is critical in today’s increasingly competitive retail marketplace. Also apparent is the need to strike the proper balance between service and value to create invaluable customer loyalty.
Today, the best decision retailers can make is to invest in a robust, digitally-supported customer experience that is centered around personalization and the best use of available technology.
Personalize, personalize, personalize
One-to-one communication with consumers has always been the dream, and retailers now have access to all of the necessary tools to make this dream a consistent and beneficial reality.
According to new research from Accenture Interactive, consumers are more likely to shop online and in-store at retailers who personalize their offerings or messaging.
Sixty-five percent of consumers expressed a preference for retailers that remembered their purchase history and 58 percent of respondents were more likely to shop at stores that offered relevant recommendations based on past purchases or preferences.
These telling findings are proof that blanket, demographic-based outreach is dead. Instead, consumers hold high expectations for retailers’ abilities to collect and analyze behavioral data to initiate meaningful one-on-one engagements. Shoppers are more inclined to buy when their needs are anticipated—no matter their position in the purchase cycle. Of course, retailers need the proper tools and technologies in place to be able to analyze and understand how and why customers are engaging to create a more personalized experience.
When looking to make digital personalization improvements, it’s all about discovering the personalization tools that align with a retailer’s product offering and customer lifecycle. Whether it’s showcasing tailored home pages, recommending related products or providing the means for consumers to request desired content, personalization will be the driving force impacting ROI.
Think mobile first
Smartphones are taking the modern shopping experience to the next level. Today’s shopper already uses their smartphone to compare in-store pricing, and mobile devices are now the go-to tool for all shopping needs. We know smartphone users are five times more likely to abandon a task, including shopping, if the site they’re visiting isn’t optimized for mobile. Even worse, 79 percent of individuals will search for a better site to complete their task of purchase. Mobile optimization is an indispensable website commodity, and the time has come for retailers to think mobile first when making e-commerce decisions.
It’s also not enough to only optimize an e-commerce site for mobile. Retailers must arm shoppers with powerful mobile apps that make purchases easy and instantaneous so they can be done anytime and anywhere.
By 2020, BI Intelligence predicts mobile spending will reach $285 billion, which would account for 45 percent of total U.S. e-commerce that year.
The focus on mobile to further enhance shopping experiences is more important than ever as shoppers exponentially adopt the mobile device as the preferred shopping method. Mobile shopping apps are the answer to providing recurring access, engagement and value to consumers.
Offer real-time assistance
Consumers will always require assistance, but the means by which they prefer to receive it makes a lot of current customer service processes obsolete. The widespread desire is for more responsive and authentic tools that equip the shopper to be the problem-solver. As a result, it’s integral to provide a variety of tools that allow for expedited resolution. Implementing digital tools that are easy to access and navigate like live chat and video tutorials, to name a few, meet the current demands of customers while also allowing for the appropriate allocation of internal, customer-focused specialists.
The eruption of social media has also forever changed the way retailers interact with new and potential customers. Providing the opportunity for one-on-one conversations, these channels present impactful opportunities to differentiate on the platform of service. When monitored and managed properly, social media is an ideal platform to illustrate how a brand puts their customers first.