As thought leaders on executive talent in consumer-driven sectors for almost 40 years, we are uniquely positioned to observe the industry shifts that are most relevant to our clients. At Herbert Mines Associates, we understand that in today’s competitive retail landscape, improving Customer Experience (CX) is at the forefront of strategic growth initiatives. The five trends that follow reflect what we have recently observed in the marketplace.
1. INTEGRATED END-TO-END PROCESS DISCIPLINE
The heart of omni-channel integration is the unification of the traditionally siloed channels of stores, e-commerce, mobile, and social (and print, if applicable) into a singular brand experience for the customer. While being everywhere your customer wants to be may lend a competitive edge to help drive sales, it is no longer novel in the industry. Every process and every capability must be fully integrated in order to successfully achieve a unified brand experience.
2. APPS VERSUS WEBSITE
Retailers are showing better retention and conversion on their dedicated apps than on mobile-enabled websites. More and more e-commerce sales are moving to mobile and apps are helping drive the shift. In addition, mobile apps offer the best method to extend a retailer’s brand and the customer’s experience with the brand.
3. “BOPUS” IS A NEW EXPECTATION
The increasing popularity of the “Buy Online Pick Up In/At Store” solution (aka “click and collect”), where consumers can select and pay for items in advance of collecting them in-store at their convenience, highlights the need for retailers to be internally aligned, nimble and flexible with their back-end operations.
4. MACHINE LEARNINGS / ALGORITHMS TO MONETIZE CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Retailers are upgrading to comprehensive internal IT systems which allow them to continuously collect and analyze data across channels and platforms to help provide a highly personalized experience for their customers. For many retailers, this involves investing in cloud-based solutions to support their CRM systems.
5. ONE-ON-ONE COMMUNICATION
A goal of achieving a successful seamless customer experience is converting a one-time spender to a loyal customer. Long-term engagement is the goal. By providing a personalized experience with their brand, consumer-facing companies are differentiating themselves as “smart” brands. Making use of combined data analytics is helping retailers customize experiences unique to the consumer’s historic profile and predictive spending preferences. This relationship with the customer extends beyond achieving sales and is fostered via content and community in addition to traditional transactional communication and interaction.