As a result of the pandemic, consumers have gotten particularly stringent on what they expect from stores as well as what they consider “retail deal-breakers.” According to a report, The Resiliency of Retail in a Changed Landscape, by IDC and global cloud communications company Infobip:
- 25 percent of consumers will only shop at retailers that offer contactless payment options; and
- 59 percent won’t shop at a retailer if it doesn't offer the ability for customers to buy online and pick up in-store.
As a result, more than half (55 percent) of retailers rate customer experience innovation as their top one to two priorities over the next three years. In fact, 49 percent are implementing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to improve customer engagement. However, simply investing in these technologies won’t help their bottom line — they need to be incorporated into the complete omnichannel experience, and tie back to each specific consumer’s preferences (no blanket marketing, please!).
As such, in order to truly capitalize on this, retailers must:
- Tap into technological aptitude. If your target consumer is of a blended demographic, you need to have multiple communication options for each omnichannel solution. Naturally, a person from the baby boomer generation is more likely to be confused or put off by AR in comparison to someone from Gen X.
- Build a digital community. Understanding that in-store locations will never actually go away (for the times you need something instantaneously — e.g., if you spill something on your outfit right before a wedding), ensure your digital presence is felt within the community it serves. This means creating avenues that encourage customers to speak to and learn from one another and, if they truly love your brand, becoming word-of-mouth ambassadors — there's no stronger marketing tool.
- Prioritize data consolidation. To take full advantage of ongoing digital transformation and customer experience (CX) expectations, retailers must prioritize data consolidation. Connecting previously siloed data stores is a significant undertaking but ultimately accelerates impact on the connected CX. A good example of this is when brands keep track of items left in an abandoned cart, and then provide promos in the days and weeks following. Or, an option even less cumbersome is keeping track of customers' birthdays and providing options for discounts and other special perks around that time.
Using the above tactics, retailers can ensure they not only address evolving customer expectations head on, but create communities amongst their biggest fans and continue to create opportunities with those that may need more coaxing. And regardless of success with each individual customer, the above will promise that they have a digital record of preferences and attempts, as well as what’s working and what’s not.
Ryan Creamore is a director of customer success at Infobip, an IT and telecommunications company that operates a full-stack communications platform as a service with private cloud infrastructure and zero-hop connectivity to telecoms globally.
Ryan Creamore is a Director of Customer Success at Infobip, an IT and telecommunications company that operates a full-stack Communications Platform as a Service with private cloud infrastructure and zero-hop connectivity to telecoms globally. Before joining Infobip, Ryan worked across a number of industry leading organizations in a Sales and Customer Experience leadership capacity. In addition to being a passionate customer advocate, Ryan is a father of two young children and can often be found traversing mountains and running in the early mornings.