M-Retailing

Retailers must match in-store customer experience with that of online to boost conversions, says data expert

With the High Street reeling from a poor Easter, retailers should integrate customer data into the in-store retail experience to ascertain why prospects become customers and why they don’t.

This is according to Vanessa Walmsley, MD of Qmatic, providers of customer journey management solutions, who suggests that gaining in-depth insights for the offline experience is what will reduce friction while boosting personalisation and clarity, giving retailers a competitive advantage.

According to The Institute of Customer Service, 60% of customers don’t tolerate poor service under any circumstances. In light of this, Vanessa says, it’s important for retailers to know exactly how to care for their in-store customers, in the same way as they do for online customers.

Walmsley says: “Shoppers, especially omnichannel-savvy ‘super-shoppers’, expect the in-store experience to be a complete reflection of what they’ve experienced online and on mobile with zero gaps in the look, feel, offerings, personalisation and level of clarity. This might mean translating an e-commerce site design that proposes items based on the shopper’s past activities into an in-store environment where staff offer observant suggestions.”

She continues: “For customers shopping online, retailers can use cookies to easily determine what customers are looking at, buying and abandoning. But without cookies to collect data in an in-store environment, those analytics are harder to generate. This means retailers are missing vital information, making it near impossible to track data points, such as walkouts, visit and conversions. Yet it’s precisely these analytics that reveal the three core issues driving – or plaguing – in store sales: friction, personalisation and clarity.”

“Sales are more likely to happen when the experience is clear, efficient, and personalised – sales are missed when the opposite is the case,” she says. “This is why business intelligence and retail analytics are increasingly playing a key part in understanding the omnichannel customer journey. If business intelligence capabilities are integrated into the omnichannel journey, a store employee is much more likely to have the analytics and insights they need to provide the right information. With the analytics and information provided via a mobile resource, the staff members are able to meet customers where they are, when needed, with useful information that will compel a buying decision and build a relationship,” said Vanessa.

She concludes: “Regardless of whether or not a customer is tech savvy or the extent to which they’re use various commerce channels, they are hoping for a warm, knowledgeable interaction with an in-store employee. They expect to be informed about products, locations, prices, deals – everything they need to make a confident buying decision. The point is that a truly frictionless experience enables a shopper to move between mobile, online, and in-store with zero gaps in the experience. Business intelligence and retail analytics can help achieve this and address the challenges of getting more customers into their store, keeping them there longer, and building productive engagements with the best employees.”

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