The best way to build strong relationships with customers is to enable highly engaging, simple to execute experiences that enhance the customer journey. By doing so, retailers are accruing the most valuable currency possible with their customers — loyalty.
A wide variety of retailers are turning to digital commerce to enable connected experiences, provide more value to customers, and make purchasing goods and services a more streamlined part of a consumer’s daily life. As retailers consider how to enable consumer experiences that contribute to their own loyalty strategy, here are three important considerations that should remain top of mind:
Create Unified Experiences
Eighty percent of consumers say they've switched brands because of poor customer experiences. A disjointed experience is a surefire way turn a loyal customer away. Conversely, the best way to cultivate customer loyalty is to deliver enriching experiences that reduce friction and simplify purchasing for customers. The challenge for retailers then becomes unifying these commerce experiences across devices, channels and geographies — meeting customers when and where they want to engage.
What does a unified experience look like in practice? We're all accustomed to purchasing items online that can be delivered the following day — or even purchasing an item online that can be picked up hours later in-store. The customer logs into their account, which has their preferred payment method stored, and just clicks on the item they want to buy. And if they need to pick up an item in-store, the retailer directs the customer to the closest brick-and-mortar location. When the customer arrives, picking up is simple, with customer identification, receipt delivery, and even loyalty and promotion application seamlessly executed. By unifying the digital experience of shopping online with the physical experience in-store, the retailer is creating a fully connected journey for the customer.
Modern consumers have never had more choice than they do today when it comes to how, and even when, they pay. Traditional methods like cash and check still have their place in the physical world, and debit and credit remain staples, but a rise in digital commerce is driving growth in digital wallet payments — both from traditional and emerging payment types. According to a recent Carat Insights study, 60 percent of American consumers have used a digital wallet in the last month.
As consumer preferences continue to evolve, retailers should consider optimizing the choice they give customers. Whether transacting online, in-store, on a social platform, or buying now and paying later (BNPL), a best-in-class experience includes providing customers the flexibility to pay with their preferred payment option.
Similarly, choice can also extend to how retailers are paying customers. Many retailers will return money to customers in the form of rebates, refunds, or even as a means of rewarding their most loyal customers. In instances when customers are receiving a payout from a business, ensuring the customer can choose when and where those funds are sent is beneficial to the customer experience. For example, in lieu of a mailing a physical check that takes weeks to deliver, retailers can send a digital check that can be deposited instantly, load funds directly into a stored-value wallet, or instantly pay out to a digital wallet like PayPal.
Consumers are inherently loyal to the retail brands they trust. This loyalty is earned through product and service quality, as well as through the interactions that are part of the process of paying for goods and services. From the security of consumer data to platform reliability to the company mission, trust today matters more than ever.
Because loyal customer relationships are underpinned by trust, brands must ensure that any payment or personal information shared with a retailer in-store or online is safe and secure. Advancements in payment security are being enabled by machine learning, artificial intelligence and biometrics. These innovative solutions help secure devices and information, thwart fraud before it occurs, and create better outcomes for businesses and customers. Most importantly, these solutions help ensure that the tailored customer experience a retailer has built can be trusted by customers.
Great experiences are foundational to building customer loyalty. Retailers looking for a competitive advantage can benefit from an operating system that prioritizes the customer experience, maximizes customer choice, and helps ensure their brand can be trusted. Doing so will help retailers create customer experiences that grow more loyal customers.