TODAY’S DIGITALLY EMPOWERED shoppers expect seamless and relevant customer experiences underpinned by personalised information that extends across channels, allowing them to interact with brands how they want, when they want and where they want.
Such experiences merge channels to provide customers with a convenient service that works for them at any given point, no matter how busy or complicated their days, or whether they’re on their mobile phones or at their desktops. When retailers offer experiences that work for their shoppers, they build relationships that last in the long term. When they don’t, a lost sale may mean forfeiting a potential long-term relationship with a loyal shopper.
It’s important to get it right from the start – and that relies on successful data integration, creative strategies, and connecting with customers at the right time and the right place, as well as successful activation strategies. Brands get it right when they integrate shopper data into the experience. They make sure to personalise the customer’s shopping experience – building sales as a result.
It all goes back to data: it’s about understanding customers’ pain points when they buy from the retailer, and focusing on building a great experience for each one of their customers whether online or in-store. As yet, retailers that do this are the exception, the early adopters of seamless shopping, while others still struggle to recreate their in-store experience online, and as a result fail to convince their online shoppers. The answer here is to find the right balance between those channels that satisfies consumers’ demands for a better overall experience.
Just as the use of mobile has changed, with shoppers now much more willing to buy using their smartphones, social media is evolving as a powerful retail channel. It’s moving from a simple marketing channel to a customer experience channel. That presents its own challenges. If I buy on your website, I expect to have a positive experience that remains consistent at each touchpoint, whether that’s email, on social media or in the store.
Overall, today’s customers’ constant demand for improvement is creating more experiences that measure up to their expectations. As a result, customer experience has become a new way for brands to gain competitive advantage. This is a good time too, for companies to develop their own brand relationships with shoppers, rather than relying on retailers to act as intermediaries. When they do, they get more opportunities to showcase their full ranges, to engage with their shoppers, and they gain loyalty in return. Customer data gives brands another reason to sell direct to consumers. Those that understand how, where and when their shoppers want to buy can offer them personalised product assortments and promotions, and, using cross-border solutions, reach out to them in new markets.
But it is two-way: just as retailers can now reach their audience through a variety of channels, customers can now constantly have access to their favourite brands. That means it’s crucial for retailers to follow up every time, and to personalise their feedback. It’s only by doing so that they will offer the consistent service that shoppers demand.
A leading global commerce service provider, PFS [IRDX VPFS] enables brand and specialty retailers to achieve their commerce goals. As an ecommerce solutions provider, we combine consulting, agency, technology and operations to deliver unique and branded customer experiences, creating Commerce Without Compromise. Learn more about our solutions at www.pfsweb.com
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