Driven by increasingly high expectations, a desire for instant gratification and access to more options than ever before, customers well and truly have the power seat in the shopping relationship. Deservingly so, as businesses should always be designed around the customer and not the other way around. With an increasingly digitally savvy audience, this year customers’ insatiable expectations will place even more pressure on Australian retailers to evolve their practices. Differentiators like same-day delivery, free shipping, and personalised communications will become the norm. Failure to meet these expectations, or deliver value in its place, will drive retail spend elsewhere. A connected total retail experience comes from:
- Seamless asset & channel integration
- Innovation & technology adoption
What really makes for a good experience is speed, convenience, consistency, friendliness and the most important is human touch – creating real connections. Informed Retailers continuously strive to connect all assets, channels and departments to create unified business operations and customer experiences in the clicks-to-bricks environment. They know how to leverage the unique capabilities that both stores and online provide, but also know how to embrace them as a whole. They selectively leverage technology, platforms and channels that are relevant to their customer and focus on providing valuable experiences. As retail store operations grow, the ability to recognise repeat visitors and valuable customers tends to weaken. eCommerce initiatives leverage account data, tracking and artificial intelligence to create personalised experiences with highly relevant product recommendations. There are challenges to be able to replicate this in-store, however, there are some simple ways to gather data. Think about integrating technology such as beacons and POS System CRM tools to identify repeat customers as they come into the store, provide them with relevant recommendations and offers, monitor their movement throughout the store (which can aid merchandising strategies) and analyse their purchasing habits to understand preferences and patterns.
Score your business in each of the critical areas of practice to identify strengths, weaknesses and potential blind spots.