Redefining Customer Experience in Retail with Digital

‘Customer is King’ has held true for generations, particularly in the retail industry. I remember my grandfather was a regular customer at the local drugstore, because they were only a phone call away, and delivered at any point of time. They even gave a friendly call once in a while to check on him and his need for medicines.

Treating the customer as the king meant paying significant importance to providing a good customer service for a successful business. With the advent of digital, the scope of good customer service has extended from providing timely and high quality products and/or services to providing an experience that delivers value outside the original sale.

Today, the same drugstore has turned into a wellness center, going beyond the traditional delivery of medicines to providing advice to its customers on the course of treatment, recommending specialists and hospitals, facilitating laboratory tests and so on.

To know more on what is happening in the retail industry, visit the Retail Experience Summit from October 2 -4, 2018 in San Diego.

Delivering Immersive and Personalized Customer Experiences

Great customer experiences across every channel is an imperative that retailers cannot ignore. While availability of digital footprints has made it possible to deliver pronounced mobile and digital experiences, retailers need to ensure that the customer at the physical store is not deprived of the same seamless and immersive experience that the digital native or the millennial customer is accustomed to. Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies, chatbots, AI voice assistants will play a key role in defining the in-store experience.

As per a retail focused independent research report commissioned by Infosys in March 2018, 43% of the respondents believed that investment in technology to personalize customer experiences will have the most positive impact on their organization within the next three years. Similarly, investment in technologies for in-store experiences was given importance by 37% of the respondents.

To go beyond traditional services, retail companies need to ‘know’ their customers well enough to be able to predict their behavior and preferences accurately. In addition to the data they own about their customers, capturing the behavior patterns and feedback from social media can help them map and define their customer profiles for better targeting. AI and data analytics hold huge promises in helping retailers understand their customers well.

Building the Capability to Deliver that Great Experience

  • Retail workforce enabling technology, automation and robotics will ensure that the staff at the store can deliver personalized experience to the walk in customers. It is important to free up the staff from doing manual, repetitive, low value tasks and empower them with awareness and agility so that they can spend quality time interacting and servicing the customer.
  • Maintaining supply chain agility and efficiency with tight integration of vertical systems become critical to ensure optimal inventory levels and no ‘out of stock’ disappointments.
  • Customers like to be well informed and appreciate transparency. IoT and Blockchain can provide the required visibility into products like nutrition value of food items and other details, establishing trust and customer loyalty.
  • Data misuse or data privacy are valid concerns in the current world. Retailers must adhere to data protection regulations and acquire the necessary capability to maintain the highest degree of customer privacy and security in their digital journeys with technologies like voice enabled commerce and self-checkout (on customer smartphones).

The customer will continue to be the king. However, the demands of the king are constantly changing. Currently, they are demanding speed, choice, convenience, value and ease. Retailers need to invest in new ideas and innovate in areas of delivery, customer experience, systems integrity and supply chain agility by harnessing the power of new and disruptive technologies that are available today.

Navigate your Next – Let’s Rethink Retail

Retail has been an early adopter of digital but the journey is long from over. Meet us at the Retail Experience Summit from October 2 -4, 2018 in San Diego to discuss how you can redefine your customer experience with digital. I will also be delivering a keynote on October 4, at 9:05 AM on “The Retail 2025 Shopper Study Report”.

Let’s explore ways to innovate boldly, find new revenue channels, engage with employees and also learn from some inspiring retail stories at the summit.