Let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than being made to feel special. In fact, it’s something that’s crucial in modern retail. These days, consumers want more than a helpful, well-mannered shop assistant or a secure online payment guarantee—they want a shopping experience that suits their specific needs and preferences, to feel like they matter, and that they’re not just another sales number.
Of course, while customization may seem like a viable option for online retailers, offering a personalized experience in brick-and-mortar stores is far more challenging. That said, it’s by no means impossible and is in fact a must if physical stores are to remain relevant.
According to Forrester, so-called retail associate enablement tools could hold the key to the future of brick-and-mortar retail stores. An alternative to point solutions, these tools give shop floor workers the power to offer the highly sought after one-on-one customer experience by providing them with information such as purchasing history or search preferences. In other words, these on-the-spot insights enable employees to offer a personalized, memorable customer experience to each and every customer that walks through the door.
Tools such as these can also work wonders when it comes to cross-selling. By providing the shop assistant with customer insights, they’re able to detect the kind of price range and product types that may appeal to each individual, in turn, boosting sales revenue and providing a memorable experience. Experience is all too often the key to long-term loyalty.
However, while maintaining brick-and-mortar retail is essential for the future of the sector, the statistics speak for themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unquestionable and lasting impact on shopping behaviors across the world, with online purchases having increased by between 6% and 10% percentage points across almost all product categories, according to UNCTAD.
But what exactly does this mean for industry stakeholders? Well, simply put it requires retailers to invest in customer experience optimization. However, this should by no means be restricted to the online sphere. Instead, an omnichannel roadmap is necessary to ensure progress is sustained over time.
Though this may appear on paper to be a highly complex process, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. For example, fashion retailer Pull&Bear achieved omnichannel success without taking personal user data into account. This was not only far easier to implement on a technical level, but it also makes data analysis simpler when seeing what works and what doesn’t.
As always the reality of these industry shifts look easier on paper than in reality. In fact, many companies don’t feel that they’re able to offer a ‘good’ personalized customer experience. Companies that do invest in CX often find that the changes that they implement don’t produce the desired results. However, more than a roadmap is required to set companies on the right path in the modern retail era.
For starters, data analysts are an absolute must when it comes to customer experience optimization. Without these kinds of specialists on board, it’s almost impossible for the retailer to get a feel for what’s working and what needs a little extra work. By ignoring customer feedback, be it direct or indirect, the company risks alienating their customer base as opposed to winning them over.
What’s abundantly clear is that the customer is a more powerful position than ever before in the retail industry. Ultimately, we as a sector need to be able to offer them something special to keep them coming back for more. It’s certainly far from simple, but with the support of modern technological solutions, it’s definitely possible.
Alpenite is a highly skilled consultancy company focused on creating meaningful end-to-end customer experiences. They specialize in supporting your business with excellence and a worldwide vision that anticipates the future. By partnering with Mapp, Alpenite can further help businesses create insight-led personalized customer experiences while staying on top of trends.