State Of Customer Experience Today

The retail customer experience has seen a radical shift in the past 5 years. The values attached to better experiences have started to surpass discount incentives offered. Customers have become more digitally aware of what product they are looking for, more expressive and perceptive about product feedbacks, as well as more appreciative and savvy at getting adept at in-store technology initiatives taken to smoothen their purchasing experience. Such initiatives also automatically associate a level of trust on quality of the product offered. Some of the Orthodox in-store practices have started to take a toll on customer shopping experience. A confused or furious customer staring at length with wrinkled forehead lines is a guiding path of where the need for innovation is more daunting. The most significant concerns baffling a customer is:
  1. I always end up spending more time in the queue than I do purchasing, Should I be more productive and fire up the app to play Pokémon-go in the meanwhile
  2. Always the same customer registration form, why can’t I register with a click on an app?
  3. Wait, how much loyalty points do I have, in my wallet?
  4. I like to give feedback, but why fill the same form again and again?
  5. Why can’t I search and compare the product in an App or see the review?
  6. I must have burnt a few extra pounds, just trying the several trouser options, where can I find some water?
  7. Holy Christ, I have eight coupons from the newspaper cutlet and ten products in my basket, which gets mapped to what, do I score an ‘A’ grade if I get the combination right?
Modern retailers have embarked on several such initiatives aimed at reducing friction for every point of the shopping journey. Cashier-less stores: the largest retailer in Singapore has advanced on this bold initiative to counter the problem of long queues. Their stores now have self-check-out counters for users to scan and bill their products, without any personal assistance. The store also provides a device for the customers to scan their products while purchasing. Once a user is done with the purchase, he/she attaches the device back on the self-checkout counter and pay for his basket. This has reduced the length of shopping queues significantly. A mobile application is a one place stop for many such in-store problems. A store map integrated within the app can help the user to find the location of products. The same interface can provide user to compare multiple products based on product or rating specs. A user can be provided notification based on his shopping preferences or can be nudged back to come in store if he hasn’t been to the store for a while. Brand shopping mobile applications coupled with smart lightings have helped track customer movement within a store.  A  journey can be traced to identify which sections appeal most to a customer: such insight presents tremendous business opportunities for better profiling customer behavior. This has opened the floodgates of data collection to track and understand window shopping behavior and apply vis-à-vis e-commerce driven marketing strategies to in-store behavior. Now a user can be notified about information on an associated product within the store before he has even made a purchase. The boom of e-commerce shopping experience has put an immense pressure on retailers of all form to focus on horizons beyond in-store experience. Web-influenced offline sales topped purely offline sale for the first time in 2016 – totaling to $1.6 trillion and is expected to grow by 12% through 2018. Customer’s in-store purchases have been impacted by their offline perception before being bought. Online purchase behavior suffers from a trust gap between the actual and perceived product value with experience, while offline purchases are hindered by the ease and inability to evaluate quality specs and product reviews. Thus, there is a need to provide a consistent experience between online and offline modes. Such an experience will help to bridge the trust gap and minimize the confusion caused by exposing a customer to several unsuitable variants of a product. Retailers need a platform to integrate and generate a single view of customers across his range of behavior across social, e-commerce, online and loyalty data for better understanding their customer preferences. A common concern echoed by most retailers is that their outdated technology infrastructure restricts them from adopting a unified platform solution. Off course the technology shift requires a definite investment. The executive leadership must take a call whether to ride with the rising tide now or come onboard later just to see other competitors flaunting their honors past the finish line. The inertia to shift from existing technology infrastructure will be a key differentiator for a digitally successful retailer. If you are looking for ideas to improve your store experience, Manthan can help you. Manthan’s Retail Analytics solutions are built exclusively for retail and tailored to fit unique retail decision-making needs. With the experience of serving 100s of customers across 22 countries, across Fashion & Apparel, Food & Grocery, Specialty and Mass Merchandise, you are bound to get what you are looking for. For a quick overview download this Datasheet If you are interested in a 15 min. discover call with Manthan, do write to us at online.enquiries@manthan.com

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Author- Sanjay Kupae

Sanjay Kupae
Sanjay Kupae is Sr. Product Marketing Manager – Customer Analytics at Manthan. Sanjay is an analytics enthusiast, focused promoting structured and unstructured analytics solutions that help businesses understand and engage their customers better. Sanjay is passionate about marketing strategy, business development, messaging, marketing analytics and multi-channel campaign execution. Sanjay has a BE in Electronics and Communication from Bangalore University and a MBA in Strategy from University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Follow Sanjay on Twitter @skupae

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