Retailers need to put the customer at the centre of all they do.
We see a lot of pressure on retailers to innovate to catch up with the changing industry and evolving consumer behaviours. It’s all about future-proofing your business and the best way to do that is to focus on how you can add value to your customers’ journeys. We live in a service economy in which companies have transcended selling products – they’re now selling experiences and brands get it right when they find innovative ways to engage and improve relationships with their customers.
A successful innovation strategy stems from gaining a better understanding of who your customers are, what they want and why. With accurate data at hand, retailers can make sure that the improvements they introduce give real benefits to their consumers rather than innovating for the sake of it. According to research from Forbes Insights and SAS conducted in February 2016, about three in 10 executives worldwide said they could already see ‘significant’ improvements in their ability to deliver a good customer experience thanks to their use of data analytics. Most of the rest said they were seeing at least moderate improvements and even more expected major shifts within the next two years.
Moreover, given the speed at which consumer behaviour is changing in our digital world, retailers need to continuously challenge their established practices through data collection to evaluate whether or not they are still meeting their customers’ needs and addressing their pain points. But acting on what the data says is not such a straightforward task – research led by Econsultancy shows that a significant 54% of companies rate their ability to act on insights derived from customer data as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. However, if retailers are able to shift to a customer-first mindset, they’re already in a good position.
The single most critical factor in building a future-proof business, is to remain focused on creating better outcomes for customers at all times and at each touchpoint. We are already seeing many forward-thinking retailers investing in the latest technologies, such as wearables, artificial intelligence, or augmented and virtual reality, but ultimately, it is how this technology will be used that really matters. What’s most important is to make it all relevant to a consumer’s personal journey through the retail experience.
PFS is a global commerce service provider of solutions including digital strategy consulting, digital agency and marketing services, technology development services, business process outsourcing services, and a complete omnichannel technology ecosystem. The company provides these solutions and services to major brand names, and to other companies seeking to optimise every customer experience and to enhance their traditional and online business channels. For more information about PFS, please visit www.pfsweb.com
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